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The FITNESS Guide to Healthy Snacking

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Snack Facts

Top Drawer Fixes: Twenty-three percent of us are ready when a craving hits — we keep a stash of goodies in our desk drawer at work. What you'll find nestled between the paperclips and Post-its:
1. Candy/candy bars/gum
2. Chips
3. Chocolate

Favorite Food Fixes: Thirty-nine percent of us tear into a bag of chips. Twenty-five perfect dip into the cookie or candy jar. Just 19 percent bite into healthy snacks such as fruit, nuts, low-fat yogurt, and cheese.

— Americans spent more than $32 billion on packaged snack foods last year

— Seventy-six percent of us are impulse eaters, grabbing whatever treats we can get our hands on when we get the urge to snack.

— The best way to stop stress? No contest: Seventy-two percent of us snack to cope with crazy (or just plain crazy-busy) days. Only 28 percent reported turning to exercise for relief. Women are slightly more likely than men to chew their way to calm.

— Just 30 percent of us check the calorie count of our snacks before we start crunching away.

What is up? You're eating these good-for-you foods, just not enough at snack time:
Fruit: 49 percent eat regularly; 46 percent eat occasionally
Cheese & crackers: 33 percent eat regularly; 56 percent eat occasionally
Nuts: 30 percent eat regularly; 56 percent eat occasionally

20 Treats for Less Than 150 Calories

Snack shopping? Don't forget this list!

  • 1 York Peppermint Pattie: 140 calories
  • 1 ounce banana chips: 147 calories
  • 1 packet O'Coco's Original Organic Baked Chocolate Crisps: 90 calories
  • 20 Baked Tostitos Original Bite Size tortilla chips: 110 calories
  • 1 mini bag Orville Redenbacher's Smart Pop Gourmet Popping Corn: 100 calories
  • 1 container Dannon Light & Fit yogurt: 60 calories
  • 1 package Quaker Mini Delights Chocolatey Drizzle mini snack cakes: 90 calories
  • 1/3 cup Bing Bing Cherry peeled snacks: 150 calories
  • 21 raw almonds: 147 calories
  • 1 Starbucks Mocha frappuccino bar: 120 calories
  • 1 medium apple, sliced, with 2 teaspoons smooth peanut butter: 135 calories
  • 1/4 cup Woodstock Cherry & Ginger Almond Crunch Granola: 115 calories
  • 1 ounce Polly-O string cheese: 80 calories
  • 1 Quaker Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Granola bar: 120 calories
  • 7 Snyder's Multigrain Pretzel Sticks: 120 calories
  • 3/4 cup edamame: 142 calories
  • 10 raw baby carrots with 1/4 cup hummus: 144 calories
  • 1/2 cup Cracker Jack: 120 calories
  • 1 1/4 ounces Glenny's Low Fat White Cheddar Soy Crisps: 140 calories
  • 1/2 cup TCBY Hand-Scooped Vanilla Chocolate Chunk Frozen Yogurt: 140 calories

3 Smart Snacking Tips

  • Choose lighter versions of your favorites — baked chips instead of fried, or low-fat popcorn.
  • Buy 100-calorie packages of cookies and candy, and keep one in your bag to satisfy a sweet tooth.
  • Famished? Try something healthy first: Drink a glass of water and eat a piece of fruit. Then, if your tummy is still calling out for more, have a few chips or a piece of dark chocolate.

NEXT: Many more low-calorie smart snacks!

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, April 2007.