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The Snack Food Makeover

The Snack Food Makeover
By Leslie Fink, MS, RD | 8/31/2005

"Snacks equal treats in many people's minds. Snacks do not equal fuel," says Liz Josefsberg, Success Story Coordinator for and a Weight Watchers Meetings leader in New York City. But as Liz can tell you, there's no reason that a snack can't please your palate and still give your body more than just empty calories.

Some people load up on sugary snacks, such as jellybeans and licorice. "People think they're great snacks because they're fat -free," Liz says. But they're loaded with simple sugars that don't fuel you for very long. The same goes for diet cookies and ice cream bars - two popular snacks among Weight Watchers Members. Some savory snacks, such as microwavable kettle corn and individual packs of crackers, don't give your body much more than a rush of carbohydrates.

Clean Up Your Snack Act
So what sorts of snacks get Liz's seal of approval? "I'm always telling people to think about food combining when they're choosing a snack. Consider the Weight Watchers Healthy Eating Guidelines and try to achieve several within each snack," she says.

Here are some smart snack ideas to get you started:

Enjoy yogurt with almonds and fruit (that way your treat will be serving up dairy, fruit, protein and some healthy fat).

Pair an apple with low-fat cheese (and you've got some dairy, fruit and protein covered).

Add low-fat cheese to your favorite salty carb snack. Or team it up with some peanut butter or bean-based dip (and you've upped your dairy or protein intake). Keep in mind that many soy-based chips give you a leg up over potato chips when it comes to protein and fiber, so that's a big plus, too.
Take It One Snack At a Time
Changing what you eat and how you perceive food is tough, so it's important to take it slowly. Replace a high-sugar item with something more nutritious, one snack at a time, Liz recommends. Then assess how you feel: Write down how long you feel full, how long the snack affects your energy level or how long you can concentrate at work. It's easier to make changes when you can "see" the benefit.

That said, it's not necessary to steer clear of all your favorite sweet treats. Deprivation can sometimes lead to its own cycle of overeating. Get the max from sugary snacks by:

Freezing small, individually wrapped candy bars, since frozen foods take longer to consume.

Opting for automatic portion control such as Just 2 POINTS! ® bars - a crutch for Liz when she's really craving chocolate.

Choosing items with long-lasting eating-power like lollipops and sucking candies (and don't forget about gum

Wed. Aug 31, 2:43pm

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