The top ten snack trends in the nation feature some hefty choices when it comes to calorie counts, based on a new report from the Food Channel.
Get on the diet-friendly clue train with these ideas for turning some of the more fattening favorite snacks into weight-watching wonders:
1. Chips and Dip: Whether they’re a new variety of chips, such as falafel chips, or a new type of dip, such as hummus, these treats typically feature more calories than you need in a snack. In their place: try whole grain melba snacks or sesame seed melba toast from Old London. These new flavors put a great twist on that familiar classic dieter’s snack. I recently served the whole grain melba snacks at a party: I topped each one with a small round of low-fat string cheese, slid under the broiler until the cheese melted, and served to guests who asked for my “recipe.” Ahem.
2. Nuts on nuts: Although it’s true that the most recent medical studies show that nuts have healthy fats, these foods do NOT qualify for “unlimited diet food” status! Too many of these high-calorie treats can all too quickly add on extra pounds. Instead, enjoy a small serving with a fresh fruit. For example, have a crunchy apple and a few pecan halves for an afternoon snack that’s under 200 calories.
3. Yogurt. This is a snack that can be exceptionally healthy – or exceptionally fattening! In the healthy category: plain, non-fat Greek yogurt, which is high in protein and calcium and low in calories. Top it with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a packet of an artificial sweetener and pair it with a fresh fruit, and you’ve got a great snack or light breakfast. On the other side of the spectrum: those heap-it-high servings of frozen yogurt. Dieters assume that because it says “yogurt,” it’s low-calorie. Not necessarily: frozen yogurt can have just as many or MORE calories than ice cream, particularly when you heap on additions such as candy-coated chocolates, granola, and hot fudge sauce.
4. Snack cakes. Okay, I admit it: I still have days where nothing will satisfy me but a cream-filled sponge cake or heavily frosted, frosting-filled chocolate cupcake. My recommendation: if you’ve got a craving that you can’t kick, buy a single package, take it home, and have your treat as dessert after a healthy dinner or lunch. Avoid games such as “well, it’s cheaper if I buy a big family-sized box” – because when you’re on a diet, having a large box available is like leaving your front door open when you’re on vacation (with a note saying “If you’re looking for something to steal, the DVD player is upstairs!”).
5. Salty and sweet snacks. If you’ve ever tried chocolate-covered pretzels or popcorn mixed in with chocolate chips, you know that it’s surprisingly easy to become addicted to such snacks. The problem if you’re on a diet: you’re combining a food that’s high in salt (which can cause you to retain water) with a food that’s high in sugar (which can give you that “sugar high” followed by an energy drop, leaving you craving more)! If you really want something salty AND sweet, try a diet-friendly version. Two teaspoons of peanut butter spread over a sliced fresh pear, for example, makes a terrific and satisfying snack.
Source: Foodchannel.com report released August 19, 2010.