Snack time doesn't have to turn into the hour you abandon your healthy habits and undo yesterday's workout. Just stick with healthy portions and avoid excess sodium or sugar found in packaged foods when you make your own snacks. Here are a few ideas to help channel your inner Martha Stewart.
Try: Dipped Pretzels
These slim sticks satisfy the wickedest cocoa craving without seeming portion-controlled or low-cal. Using pretzels with less than 100 milligrams of sodium per pack will help keep bloat at bay.
Microwave 1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips until just melted, about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Stir well. Dip the ends (about 1/2 inch) of 70 low-sodium mini pretzel sticks into chocolate until coated, then place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cool at room temperature for 1 hour (or 20 minutes in the refrigerator).
Makes 7 servings. Per serving (10 pretzels): 100 cal, 5 g fat (3 sat), 15 g carbs, 96 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein
Quiz: Do you know what 100 calories looks like?
Try: Chili-Spiced Tortilla Chips
Store-bought chips are fried in fat and loaded with sodium. These tongue-tingling triangles get their flavor from chili powder, which contains a metabolism-boosting compound called capsaicin. (Search: More metabolism boosting foods)
Cut 10 six-inch corn tortillas into sixths. Arrange on a baking sheet, then spritz with canola-oil spray and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Makes 7 servings. Per serving (about 8 chips): 100 cal, 2 g fat (0 g sat), 20 g carbs, 105 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 1 g protein
Try: Caramel Corn
This sweet whole-grain snack tastes as sinful as any you can buy, but it has 75 percent less sugar--and 100 percent less guilt. (Special offer: Delicious recipes that will flatten your belly)
Melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a large stockpot over low heat. Whisk in 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1 tablespoon water. When blended, add 7 cups air-popped popcorn and 1 ounce lightly salted peanuts (about 35 nuts). Toss until mixture is evenly distributed, then let cool.
Makes 7 servings. Per serving (1 cup): 100 cal, 6 g fat (3 g sat), 11 g carbs, 85 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein
Healthy Makeovers for Your Comfort Foods