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How to keep those healthy eating resolutions

| December 23, 2010 8:00 PM

For many of us, the season of gluttony begins with candy-laden Halloween, continues through bountiful Thanksgiving and festive Christmas, and wraps up with party-time New Year's Eve. January hopefully represents a clean slate and, for many people, a cleaner plate.

Indeed, finding snacks that fit into a resolved new way of eating is not always easy. The good news for those intent on starting 2011 with a different snacking mindset is that a wider array of better-for-you products are available and the overall approach to eating better is more focused on sensibility than on fleeting fads.

Here are some tips for following up season's greetings with more reasoned eatings:

Think big picture. Many diet and health experts agree that a more general, practical approach to snacking is easier to adhere to than a specific and often rigid diet. Balance and moderation may not be the most buzzworthy terms, but they are the basis of success.

Follow your natural instincts. As more people resolve to eat green and clean, especially at the start of another year, a growing number of organic and natural food products are available at their supermarket. If you are going to snack, why not add some other healthy ingredients? Try multi-grain snack foods, for instance, to inject some fiber into your daily diet.

Remember, restricted diets don't mean restricted taste.

Crunch it up. Studies have shown that snacks with a crunch provide a more satisfying snacking experience. Keeping this in mind, make sure to stock your pantry with a variety of crunchy apples, carrots, and pretzels to keep you from reaching for that sugary donut instead.

Gain some (portion) control. Like moderation and balance, watching one's portions isn't a trendy notion, but it is a tried-and-true approach to healthy snacking.

Add some flavor. Take advantage of the many flavors available in today's snack foods that can satisfy your cravings and allow you to savor what you're eating. Snackers craving some heat might enjoy spicy varieties like buffalo wing and jalapeno flavored pretzel pieces, while those with a sweet tooth can get their fix with choices like honey-tinged or cinnamon-dusted snacks.

Indulge just enough. Watching what you eat doesn't mean you have to swear off everything tasty that you love - even chocolate. A handful of chocolate covered pretzels are still a good choice compared to other high fat, high calorie chocolate snacks.

Balance eating with moving. Again, it's not a news flash that exercise is important to the body's metabolism and to overall health and wellness, but taking time to engage in some extra physical activity (it could be treadmill time or even opting for the stairs instead of the elevator) makes snacking all the much more satisfying, and less guilt-inducing.

Ultimately, improving your eating and lifestyle habits doesn't have to mean radical change. From shedding those extra pounds that crept up during the fall and early winter holidays, to pledging to eat in a more organic, natural or sustainable way, resolutions don't have to be so daunting. And by the time next January rolls around, you may not even need to make such resolutions in the first place.

- Courtesy of ARA Content

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