Snacking Made Simple and Healthy
by Amy Finn on August 21, 2012 at 12:00 PM EST

I don’t know about you, but I love snacking. Sometimes, I have a smaller dinner just so that I can snack in the evening. I’m just as guilty as anyone about unhealthy treats too. My biggest weaknesses are chips and dips. I could eat Wavy Lay’s and cream cheese with pineapple dip every day for lunch; it’s one of my favorite chips and dip combination. However, this is not the healthiest option for an afternoon or evening snacking session. So I found some alternatives that are just as tasty and satisfying as chips.

Snacking

  • Parmesan Pita Chips – Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan evenly over a 4-inch whole-wheat pita. Dust pita with ¼ teaspoon dried oregano and broil until the cheese browns. Cut into quarters. (RealSimple.com)
  • Edamame – When I want chips, what I’m really craving is salt. Run some frozen edamame (soy beans) under steaming hot water for a few minutes and sprinkle with salt. Not only will they have a satisfying crunch, they will also fulfill that salt craving.
  • Veggies and Dip – Slice up some red peppers, cucumbers, and carrots. Dip into some light Ranch dressing. This is a really healthy and simple alternative to chips and dip, but just as satisfying. (Plus, a great way to incorporate some superfoods into your diet.)
  • Orville Redenbacher’s Smart Pop – Popcorn is another way to get the saltiness of chips without all the calories and fat, just don’t get movie-theater butter. Three tablespoons (unpopped) of Smart Pop yields a lot of popcorn but only 120 calories, 2 grams of fat and 240 mg sodium.

Another thing that I crave, just as much as chips, are sweets. I love chocolate, ice cream, pies, cake – the list goes on. However, all this sugar and fats are not good for your health. (Not to mention the pounds you would pack on.) So instead I turned to some different sources to get my sweet fix:

Snacking Skinny Cow

  • Fiber One Bars – These come in a variety of flavors. With only 190 calories and 4 grams of fat, these are great alternatives to cookies or cakes. They are also a good source of fiber (as you expect from the name “Fiber One.”)
  • Fig Newtons – Two cookies only have 110 calories and 2 grams of fat, which are light years away from the DoubleStuf Oreos that I usually munch on. They are also whole grain now. The cookies are small but with nutrition facts like these, I don’t feel bad about going over the serving size.
  • South Beach Living Fiber Fit Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies – One word: delicious! I love these cookies because not only are they healthier than other cookies, they taste fantastic. They are made from whole-grain flour and only have 5 grams of fat and 5 grams of sugar. They are a perfect way to keep cookies in your diet.
  • Anything from Skinny Cow – The healthy alternative to any ice cream is the Skinny Cow brand. I don’t know what they do, but their ice cream is much lower in calories and fat than regular ice cream. Their Truffle Bars are so yummy and only have 100 calories and 2.5 grams of fat. This is how I get my ice cream fix.

There are many healthy alternatives to some of your favorite foods. All it takes is a small amount of Google-searching, and you can find a lot of alternatives that will satisfy your cravings, and at the same time, will not set you back in your diet or healthy living. Also, I still enjoy some chips and dip and DoubleStuf Oreos every now and then, just as a splurge. Moderation, as always, is key when dealing with snacking urges.

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