March 4th is National Snack Day. Quick: Name your favorite snacks!
Now, take a look at these better-for-you snacks, and see how you measure up.
Most are easily portable. To sweeten the snacks, consider a Splenda/cinnamon mix: a packet of Splenda with a dash of cinnamon.
In alphabetical order, we suggest:
Apple chips. Dried fruit can be high in calories. But unsweetened apple chips are a caloric bargain. Try them with plain yogurt, too,
Cheerios. It may sound strange, but think of them as you would a handful of nuts. Whole grain, crunchy comfort food, you can enjoy them plain, seasoned with a Splenda/cinnamon mix, with tea or coffee, or with a glass of nonfat milk.
Cottage cheese. This diet staple can be flavored with fresh herbs or a Splenda/cinnamon mix or Sugar-Free Jell-O.
Dark chocolate. Have a large square of chocolate, 70% cacao or more. The higher the percentage of cacao, the lower the sugar. Great with a cup of coffee or tea.
Diet egg cream. One of our favorite sweet treats: Mix diet chocolate soda with nonfat milk. Just 80 calories.
Fresh fruit. Another diet staple: Berries and melon cubes are the best caloric value; but apples, bananas and oranges are easier to pick up at delis and other grab-and-go locales.
Hard-boiled eggs. These days, it’s easy to buy them cooked and peeled (photo #2). Then, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper (we like to spread them with Dijon mustard).
Hummus and crudités. Hummus is very nutritious but high in calories; so eat it with lots of crudités. Bell peppers, carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and radishes pair well.
Jerky and beef sticks. Look for a brand that isn’t loaded with sugar and salt (photo #1). Because jerky is so chewy, a little goes a long way in satisfying snack cravings.
Nori strips. You don’t have to be a sushi lover to enjoy crisp nori snacks (photo #4). If you don’t like it plain, there are so many flavors, from barbecue to wasabi.
Nut butter with crudités. Carrots, celery and cucumbers bulk up the snack. Another pairing option: Triscuit Baked Whole Grain crackers.
Nuts. The USDA recommends one ounce of heart-healthy nuts daily. That equals 23 almonds, easy to carry around. Here are the other heart-healthy nuts.
Oatmeal. We keep unflavored packets in our desk drawer and cook them in the microwave, to enjoy plain or with our Splenda/cinnamon mix.
Olives. A staple of the Mediterranean diet, you can find them in snack pack sizes, or wrap up your own.
Popcorn. A big, fluffy cup can be enjoyed plain, with salt and pepper, or garnished in sweet or savory ways. Try chile flakes, flavored olive oil, grated parmesan, or a Splenda-cinnamon mix. Bonus: Popcorn is a whole-grain snack.
Rice cakes. Whole-grain brown rice cakes are filling, and while they aren’t high on nutrition, they’re only 35 calories apiece. Combine them with hummus, nut butter or yogurt.
Roasted chickpea snacks. A great source of protein, and a good choice of flavors.
Sardines. We drizzle a can of sardines with balsamic vinegar, and sprinkle whatever fresh herbs are in the crisper.
String cheese. Always popular. Or, have an ounce of cheddar with some Triscuits.
Sugar-Free Jell-O. There are numerous flavor choices, all at 10 calories per serving. Have all you want by itself, or with cottage cheese or yogurt.
Tuna or salmon pouches. Protein-packed, these are seasoned and ready to it, with or without crudites (photo #33).
Veggie chips. We dehydrate our own in the microwave with Mastrad trays.
Yogurt. Plain greek yogurt or sugar-free yogurt is best. We’re not keen on the sugar-free varieties, but we do like to add 25 calories’ worth of topping to Greek yogurt: apple chips, diced strawberries, Cheerios, mini chocolate chips, pumpkin seeds, etc. We also like the yogurt plain with a packet of Splenda and a dash of cinnamon. Another option: Mix in a spoonful of jam or sugar-free jam.
Your next step: Decide which of these to substitute for your less-than-good-for-you snacks.
 Grass-fed, non-GMO beef sticks from Chomps.
 Lots of protein: a real hunger quencher (photo courtesy Pete & Gerry’s).
 Seasoned tuna pouches: protein and omega-3s (photo courtesy StarKist).
 Flavored seaweed strips in a variety of flavors (photo courtesy GimMe Health).