“When I think of snacks, the first thought that comes to mind is sitting down on the couch, turning on the television and munching on a large bag of potato chips. Mmm, good!”

Why is it we usually think of snacks as unhealthy – bags of salty, high fat and high sugar ingredients – many of which we either can’t pronounce or we’ve never even seen – partially hydrogenated oils, high-fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin, milk solids?

CHOOSING SMART SNACKS

Vegetables and fruits provide a healthy alternative with fewer calories. A colorful meal allows you to obtain more phytonutrients – those healthy substances that protect us against all types of chronic illness!

Are you looking for a morning snack? Munch on a small bowl of whole grain cereal together with cut-up fruit – peaches, apples, strawberries or cherries. Cut down on the amount of grain by replacing it with more fresh produce.

If you have a blender nearby – even those individual-sized ones – then blend your magic with low-fat milk or yogurt and your favorite fruits! Another alternative is to juice fresh vegetables together with just half an ounce of your favorite nuts – almonds, peanuts, pecans, for an extra punch of protein!

It’s not easy to resist an afternoon trip to the vending machine if you’re unprepared. Yes, afternoon has arrived and you’re looking for a pick me up to last till dinner…You can find one hundred calories or less in a medium-sized apple or banana, a cup of blueberries or grapes, a cup of carrots or broccoli that can be accompanied by a fat-free homemade dip. That extra crunch will fill you up and avoid the automatic urge to eat “whatever you can find in the fridge” when you arrive in the evening.

SNACKS KIDS LOVE

If you’re wondering what to feed your child, line up chunks of sliced fruit on a skewer as a fruit kabob or mix raw vegetables like broccoli and peppers between the fruit. Use raw vegetables to have your kids make “funny faces” such as carrots for noses and sliced radishes for eyes. Try raw vegetables with homemade salsa for a double whammy – very healthy and your kids will love to dip and play with their food.

How about buying fresh produce and baking them for a perfect snack? Homemade baked apples take time – usually an hour or more – yet making four or five at a time – sweetened with honey, wine or dried fruits – lasts for awhile. Be creative and keep snacks simple and healthy!

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