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Smart snacking is good for your waistline

Are you cutting out snacks to cut calories in hopes of losing weight? Did you know that snacking is actually a satisfying way to diet, lose weight, and better ensure you are getting all of the vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients your body needs? Including snacks as part of your daily eating plan can keep you feeling energized and full and prevent binging. The key is making sure the snacks you choose are healthy, satisfying, and in small portions. Here are some smart snacking tips to healthfully feed your mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack attacks.

1. Prepare healthy snacks before the munchies hit.

Take the time to cut up vegetables, fruits, and cheeses so they are an easy grab when your stomach starts grumbling. Fill snack-sized bags with dried fruit and nuts. Keep a stockpile of single-serving yogurts, cottage cheese, 100-calorie snack packs, and healthy snack bars readily available so you aren’t opting for junk food and super-sized portions.

2. Eat small meals every three to four hours.

The longer you wait in between meals, the more you will likely eat at your next meal. Eating a healthy snack in between your main meals can keep your blood sugar levels stable and keep you from overeating when you finally do sit down to eat.

3. Portion-sizes matter.

Keep in mind that snacks are small meals. Eating high-calorie foods or large portion-sizes will sideline the best of diet intentions. Smart-snacking means noshing on portion sizes that have 100 to 200 calories. Save the higher calorie portions for your main meals.

4. Balanced snacks.

When your snacks (and meals, for that matter) have a healthy balance of complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and fats, you will not only stay full longer, you will be contributing to a well-balanced diet. Instead of simply dining on a bowl of fresh fruit or vegetables, pair them with protein-packed yogurt, cheese and nuts. The fiber in the fruits and vegetables and the protein and fat in the dairy and nuts will keep you satisfied, energized, and ready to make it through the morning or afternoon.

5. Snacking does not mean grazing all day.

Snack only when you are hungry. If you had a substantial meal for breakfast or lunch and you still feel full three or four hours later, simply wait until your body tells you that you need to eat. Listen to your body and avoid the urge to eat just because you are bored, frustrated, or stressed.

For more smart snacking ideas, check out these links:

Snacking secrets for women on the go

Healthy indulgences: Low-calorie satisfying snacks

Homemade 100-calorie snacks

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