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Healthy Snacks Can Be Part of a Weight-Loss Plan

Hot & Cool Trends

By Cari Martens

Most of us probably think of snacking as a sure way to go off your diet and gain unwanted pounds.

Actually, choosing healthy snacks can be a smart part of a weight loss program—so advises the staff of the Mayo Clinic. Snacks can help you manage hunger between meals and reduce binging. Of course, the key is selecting the right munchies and using moderation.

The folks at the Mayo Clinic recommend snacks from these food groups:
⋅ Fruits and veggies
⋅ Whole grain snacks, such as whole grain crackers, pretzels and crispbreads
⋅ Nuts and seeds, which provide protein and keep you feeling fuller longer
⋅ Low-fat dairy products, such as cheese and yogurt

Another health-oriented website, HealthCastle.com had similar recommendations, listing four must-have healthy snacks: bananas, yogurt, nuts and popcorn.

Health Nuts

Although high in calories, nuts, in particular, have a lot going for them. In 1996, the Iowa Women’s Health Study found that women who ate nuts four or more times per week were 40% less likely to die of a heart attack. Similar results were found in another study conducted two years later by the Harvard School of Public Health.

Heart health benefits of nuts were also found for men who snack on them. In 2002, the Physician’s Health Study found that men who ate nuts two or more times a week had reduced risks of sudden cardiac death.

The trick, when it comes to snacking on nuts, is not to go nuts. In other words, we need to keep the snack portion to one or two handfuls.

This health halo around nuts has resulted an abundance of new nutty snack products. Some of the notable nut newcomers include Natural Valley Granola Nut Clusters, Cinnabon Cinnamon Mixed Nuts, and Fire Dancer Jalapeño Nuts.

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