To Your Health

To Your Health by Pam Schaefer What used to be considered a "no-no" is now known to be an essential part of our daily routine. That's right: there is no need to feel guilty about that mid-afternoon snack attack. Snacks are an important source of energy and can provide key nutrients to your overall meal plan.

While snacking can be a nutritious addition to an eating plan, it also has the potential to launch it into chaos. It's really what you choose and how much you eat that counts. If you're looking to add some spring to your snacks, keep these points in mind:

Are you an office nibbler who can't pass up the cookies and donuts?

Keep a supply of bagels, graham crackers, whole grain cereal, Hy-Vee applesauce cups or pretzels at your desk.

Are you a TV-time muncher?

Instead of chips, switch to low-fat popcorn, raw vegetables, and low-fat dip or baked chips.

Do you eat dinner while cooking it? Make it a point to have a small, low-fat snack before you start or keep a bag of baby carrots on the counter to munch on while you cook.

Do you snack on a Coke and candy bar while on the road? Instead, take along bottled water, diet sodas or coffee. For snacks, try baby carrots, apples or pears, low-fat popcorn or bagel chips.

Are you a choc-o-holic? Squelch your chocolate craving by sipping on diet soda, low-calorie flavored water, a few mini chocolate chips, sugar-free chocolate pudding cups or mini dessert mints.

Do you raid the vending machine daily? Best solution is not to carry any loose change or cash. If you must indulge, select diet soda and a bag of pretzels.

For more nutrition information and healthy recipes, go to and click on health and recipes.

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