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    Snacks are an important part of our overall diet, but we can easily fall into common snacking traps that can hamper our efforts to eat healthy foods.

    Benefits of regular snacking:

    • Snacks provide additional opportunities to include more fruits and vegetables
    • Snacking can prevent overeating at later meals
    • Snacking can help with weight management if snacks are chosen carefully

    It can be easy to snack for the wrong reasons – which can lead to overeating and weight gain.

     Try to snack when you are hungry and avoid snacking when:

    • You are snacking to treat boredom
    • You are watching television or using a computer
    • You are snacking due to stress or simply because someone else is eating

    Blueberries

    Having healthy snacks on hand at home and away can improve our snack choices. Planning ahead can help prevent poor last-minute snack choices – like fast food or junk food. To make healthy snacking simpler, consider:

    • Planning snacks ahead of time to make sure you purchase what you need
    • Keeping a list of healthy snacks for when you are not feeling creative or do not have much time to plan, adding new ideas as you have them
    • Using MyPlate as a guide for snacks to ensure you are providing a variety of healthy foods, including fruits, vegetables and whole grains
    • Preparing snacks ahead of time to save time
    • Packaging snacks for easy travel (snacks like fruits and vegetables are more appealing if they can be chosen and packed quickly)
    • Portioning out snacks in a small bowl or on a small plate to prevent overeating if you are snacking at home

     Some healthy snack ideas:

    • Apples and peanut butter
    • Whole-grain crackers with low-fat cheese
    • 1/2 whole-grain waffle with peanut butter
    • Fresh vegetables with hummus
    • Fruit with low-fat yogurt dip

    Avocado Mango Smoothie

     

    Choosing Healthy Beverages

    Selecting a healthy beverage is an important part of healthy snacks. Beverages can be a source of extra calories and added sugar – which can cause weight gain - and drinking calories will often leave you hungry sooner than consuming calories from food.

    Some smart beverage selections include:

    • Water
    • Low-fat milk
    • Unsweetened tea or coffee
    • Sugar-free flavored water

     

    To make water more interesting, try adding slices of fresh fruit or making ice cubes with fresh fruit slices. You might also try adding a small amount of 100% fruit juice for flavor.