Snacking can be healthy. Of course, snacking can also clog your arteries and add pounds to the hips. Eating the right kind of snacks will keep you from getting overly hungry between meals, so that you don’t overeat at the table and consume more total calories. The best snacks are filling, nutrient-rich and packed with protein and fiber.

Make Healthy Versions of High-Calorie Favorites

Sweet Potato Fries: Everyone loves this tasty swap for french fries. Cut 1″ wide wedges, brush with a mixture of olive oil and a little chili powder. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Sprinkle with salt.

Easy, Crispy Kale Chips: Tasty and packed with vitamins A, C and K. Remove stems from kale leaves, place on cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Multigrain Nachos: Cover multigrain chips with some shredded cheese, microwave until cheese melts (1-2 minutes), add salsa, guacamole, black olives, jalapenos or other favorite topping.

Air-Popped Popcorn: Microwave popcorn is loaded with unhealthy fat. Instead, jazz up air-popped popcorn with grated cheese, garlic, salt or cinnamon and honey.

English Muffin Pizza: Kids of all ages love them! Split and toast the English Muffins (this keeps them crispy). Cover with pizza sauce (or leftover spaghetti sauce), grated cheese and topping(s) of choice. Put under broiler for 3-5 minutes.

Lettuce Wraps: Substitute a large lettuce leaf for bread and yogurt for mayonnaise. One popular wrap is made with sliced turkey and either cranberry sauce or thin apple slices.

Almost-Baked Apples: Peel and core apples and cut into wedges, sprinkle with cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, put in covered microwave bowl and microwave for 3-4 minutes. Quick and tasty, especially on a chilly afternoon.

Decadent Chocolate-Drizzled Fruit Chunks: Drizzle a small amount of chocolate syrup over the fruit chunks.

Spicy Hummus-Yogurt Dip: Mix equal amounts Greek yogurt and hummus with a couple dashes of hot sauce. Use as a dip for carrot slices, celery, apple slices or whatever you’d like.

The key to healthy snacking is to think of ways to create a lower-calorie, healthier version of favorite snacks. Smaller, more frequent meals will keep the metabolism busy burning fat. For more tips on nutrition and healthy living, visit nutritionisking.com.

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