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Snack smart for better health

Snacks are a common aspect of most Americans' daily diets. Although you may feel like stealing nibbles between meals is a guilt-worthy offense, making smart snacking choices can actually contribute to a healthy eating plan.

Snacks are a good way to manage food intake throughout the day, which keeps your metabolism running strong and helps you avoid overeating at any one meal. To be sure you're never caught without a smart snacking option, consider these snacking survival tips:

1. Look for snacks that combine food groups for an extra nutritional punch. For example, pair a low-fat dairy product, such as yogurt or cottage cheese, with fresh fruit for a tasty and satisfying treat.

2. When you need a little more to fill you up, opt for high-fiber and high-water foods. These options let you eat more volume without loading up the calories. Fruits and vegetables, whole grains and nuts are all good choices.

3. Keep quick, low-calorie snacks on hand. A large apple, 3-1/2 cups of popcorn or a large handful of almonds are all under 150 calories.

4. Manage your sweet tooth with better-for-you snack options. Every diet has room for indulgences once in a while, but save those for special occasions. When you're craving something sweet, fruit can often appease your taste buds.

— Family Features

Snack smart for better health