Weekend: Snack smart, be prepared to avoid empty calories

By BRITTANY BUCHER
Snack time is popular for adults, too. But snacks in the workplace add extra calories and fat to your diet, and extra weight.
Vending machine candy bars and chips satisfy your hunger, but are often full of empty calories that provide little or no nutritional value.
If you are a vending machine snacker, making some simple swaps and planning your snacks before leaving the house will help you.
If your sweet tooth is aching, you can grab a Snickers bar for 250 calories and 12 grams of fat per servings, or you can bring an apple for a mere 100 calories and 0 grams of fat. This is a savings of 150 calories and 12 grams of fat with just one swap.
Swap a Milky Way bar for a cup of grapes and you save 136 calories and 9 grams of fat. Fruits are sweet, too.
Salty snacks such as chips and Cheetos are another popular mid-afternoon snack in the machine.
Potato chips provide 160 calories and 10 grams of fat, but Wheat Thins provide 140 calories and just 5 grams of fat. This is a saving of just 50 calories, which may not seem like a lot, but the fat is cut by 50 percent.
Cheetos are another one. It has 150 calories and 10 grams of fat. Swapping these for Triscuits, which have 120 calories and 4 grams of fat, can save 30 calories and 6 grams of fat.
Triscuits and Wheat Thins both come in a variety of flavors and provide whole grains and fiber. The different flavors and crunchiness can help curb your appetite for chips.
Snacks in individual servings or 100-calorie packs are convenient, but they can also be more expensive. Buying snacks in bulk and packing them yourself can save money.
Use reusable containers or plastic bags to take your snacks to work. Limit yourself to the recommended serving size. Snacks can be packed the night before and stored in the refrigerator.
Dried fruits and crackers can be kept at work or in your purse to make sure you always have something portioned and healthy. This will help you avoid the vending machine.
All this will not only help you through the day, but a sensible snack may help keep off extra weight and help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Bucher is a dietetic intern at Bluffton University working with OSU Extension, Hancock County, 419-422-3851.

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