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Healthy Snack Swaps That Satisfy Any Craving
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Sweet Snack Skip: Fat-Free Yogurt
You might think you're making a healthy choice by scooping up some fat-free yogurt, but Carissa Bealert, R.D., an Orlando-based nutritionist, warns this choice is often filled with false promises. "We have seen that the fat-free fad wasn't the cure-all it was made out to be decades ago." Fat-free yogurts are often filled with added sugars (especially if you go for one that has toppings like candy or fruit syrup) and recent studies have proven that having a snack with a little bit of fat in it actually helps promote satiety.
Sweet Snack Swap: Full-Fat Greek Yogurt
Pick full-fat, plain Greek yogurt that you sweeten naturally with berries, honey, or even a small sprinkle of dark mini-chocolate chips. With this choice, "you're getting filling protein, calcium, and a lower amount of added sugar," says Bealert. (Read more on the fat-free vs. full-fat Greek yogurt debate.)
Salty Snack Skip: Whole-Grain Chips
"The problem with chips is that they have a very small serving size that most of us overeat, and they provide limited nutritional benefits," says Bealert. Add that to a label that touts whole grains and you may think your snack is healthier than it really is.
Salty Snack Swap: Flavored Nuts
Bealert recommends 100-calorie packs of nuts that are sprinkled with sweet chili or another flavor that will mimic the addictive seasonings you may find on a chip. This snack will give you a double punch of fiber and protein, plus if you choose something like pistachios, cracking the shells will keep your hands busy and slow down your snacking, so you're likely to eat less than you normally would. (Did you know pistachios are among the healthiest nuts on the planet?)
Savory Snack Skip: Certain Jerky Products
Jerky can provide a solid source of protein, but it all comes down to the label. "When reading labels you must look for a product with no nitrites and definitely no MSG," says Bealert.
Savory Snack Swap: Turkey Jerky
For a leaner snack, Bealert says to choose chicken or turkey jerky. "The great thing about jerky is that the drying process actually reduces the fat in it, and since you lose water in the drying process you get more protein per serving size," says Bealert.