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  • Writer's pictureTea Writes

I just want a snack!

Maintaining clean eating while craving snacks seems impossible. Often times, we equate snacks with junk food, which gives snacks a bad rap. However, there's hope when you want to have a little snack with a guilt-free conscience. Check-out this list of lower-calorie snacks to incorporate into your daily meal plan.

We've all been there. Not matter how much food, whether eating clean or unhealthy, we crave snacks.

Sometimes, when I crave snacks, I want a specific type of snack; when I want something sweet--I'm having a "sweet-tooth" moment.

I used to be very rigid about not incorporating snacks into my day for a couple of reasons. Number one, I always had the mindset that snacks were unhealthy and that they had to be sweet; so I just stuck to my main meals---what a boring life. I really didn't enjoy my food, since I didn't have a snack or dessert at the end.

Number two, I didn't know what constituted a snack in healthful terms, which rendered me clueless about what to eat.

Upon following and listening to interviews from a celebrity who follows a healthy exercise and eating regimen, a nutritionist, and a health and fitness guru (no name-dropping here) mention that they love cookies, and they may eat two or three in a setting, and not to do it daily. They also mentioned how they eat their snacks, and suggesting not to deprive themselves of snacks or they would pay for it by overeating later. At that point, the light bulb came on in my head.

What I interpreted that to mean for me, was to have what I call the "dirty snacks" in moderation, as with all things---perhaps once a month--that also includes the sweet stuff--so I do.

Another revelation that came to my mind, were the things I can eat non-stop in abundance. To remedy that situation, I just don't have them in the house.

I love ice cream, which I use to buy by the buckets/gallons. It was part of my regular grocery bill. But, as you know, ice cream can increase your cholesterol level, which can clog your arteries, raise blood pressure, cause heart disease, stroke, and heart attacks.

So to offset my ice cream craving, by not having it in the house--mentally, it became "out-of-sight, out-of-mind" for a while.

However, when I crave ice cream, I will go to the ice cream shop and get a serving I can eat on-the-spot. Then once it's gone, it's gone. There's no going back for seconds.

Now, my cravings for ice cream are much less. The last time I had some ice cream was during the summer, which is a good thing.

So, what types of snacks a are healthy alternatives?

Healthier, lower-calorie snacks are varied and plentiful, with (some sweet snacks too!) which include:

  • Raisins

  • Strawberries & non-fat yogurt

  • Melon & cottage cheese

  • Blueberries & sour cream

  • Cherries

  • Red seedless grapes

  • Unsweetened applesauce, topped with cinnamon

  • Raw veggies with hummus or fat-free salad dressing

  • Medium piece of fresh fruit or celery with peanut butter

  • Kosher dill pickle

  • Bananas

  • Tomato with Parmesan cheese

  • Carrots and light ranch dressing

  • Chocolate-covered mini pretzel twists

  • 4 Chocolate kisses

  • 3 Graham crackers

  • 2 Saltine crackers

  • Brown rice cakes

  • Baked potato with salsa

  • Cheerios with fat-free milk

  • Mini bagel with chive & onion cream cheese

  • Fruit smoothies with non-fat yogurt

  • Seltzer with cranberry juice and a lime wedge

  • Green tea with artificial sweetener

  • Almond milk

  • Iced water with fruit

  • Vanilla wafers

  • English muffin

  • Cinnamon-raisin toast

  • French Toast with reduced-calorie toast or maple syrup

Actually, the list is limitless. Get creative. Mix and match these fruits and veggies (according to your taste buds) with nut butter, non-fat yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream, hummus, cream cheese, fat-free salad dressing, jams, spices (again, check packaging and labels for serving sizes and caloric intake).

The takeaways:

Portion control - Read labels for serving sizes, and have only one serving per meal/setting

Moderation - Avoid returning for second helpings per setting/meal

Mindset - Eat with intention; be mindful of what and how much you eat

Behavior - Use self-control, and sometimes if you want to double-dip into the snacks, instead, go for a frothy cold glass of iced water with fresh fruit--you will also add to your 64 ounces of water intake for the day.

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