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Healthy Holiday Snacks: Eight Light Nibbles that Satisfy

Keep good-for-you foods close by during the holidays to fight the urge to eat sweets and junk food.
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By: Kristen Castillo

Research shows that the average weight gain during the holidays is one pound. While that doesn’t seem like much, once you gain weight, it can be tough to lose it.

The holidays are a tempting time with cocktails, sweetened drinks, appetizers, heavy meals and desserts. So how can you enjoy the season without overindulging? Make conscious, healthy meal choices; get regular exercise; and be sure to snack sensibly, too.

Keep good-for-you foods close by during the holidays to fight the urge to eat sweets and junk food. Here are Healthy Dining’s eight picks for healthy snacks:

1. Citrus
Citrus fruits like oranges and clementines are refreshing and good for you, too. High in fiber, oranges are a healthy, quick snack. On average, each person in the U.S. eats 12.5 pounds of citrus every year. Citrus fruits are at their peak during the winter months making them a budget-friendly and flavorful option.

2. Nuts
Eating a small amount of nuts can satisfy your hunger and also support your health. Research shows that nuts, including almonds, walnuts and pistachios provide protein, fiber and healthy fats, are heart healthy and can promote weight loss.

3. Cottage cheese
Tasty cottage cheese is very good for you. It’s a great source of protein and calcium as well as vitamin A and vitamin D. Pair it with fresh fruits and veggies for a satisfying and waist-friendly snack.

4. Chocolate
Indulge your sweet tooth with a healthy bite or two of chocolate. Research indicates chocolate, especially dark chocolate, may help prevent heart disease. Still, it’s not a good idea to overdo it. While it’s delicious to eat and rich in antioxidant nutrients, it also is a dense source of fat and calories.

5. Fresh Fruit
Nosh on fruit between meals. Bananas for example are rich in potassium; apples have lots of fiber and their sweet taste is satisfying.

6. Yogurt
This dairy is a healthy and tasty choice any time of day. Just make sure your yogurt isn’t high in sugars and calories. Pairing a plain unsweetened yogurt with some fresh fruit, like blueberries or raspberries, makes for a delicious snack. Consider low fat or nonfat Greek yogurt, too, which has more protein than traditional yogurt.

7. Popcorn
Air-popped popcorn can be both satisfying and healthy. Popcorn has lots of fiber and is rich in antioxidants. Be careful not to add extras to your popcorn though – cheese, salt and other toppings can add unwanted saturated fat, calories and sodium to your otherwise nutritious snack. Instead, add a punch of flavor with herbs and spices.

8. Oatmeal
Oatmeal isn’t just for breakfast. It’s also a great snack, because it’s a satisfying whole grain. Oatmeal can help lower your cholesterol; and it’s high in fiber, which can help you lose weight.

Eating at regular intervals throughout the day, with healthy snacks like these and Healthy Dining menu choices, can help you prevent hunger and stay on track with your health goals. When eating out, search for choices like these, recommended by Healthy Dining’s team of registered dietitians:

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