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New Ways to Prepare Healthy Snacks – Guest Post by Barry Zagreb

Snacks are not completely off the table when trying to stick with a healthy diet. You just have to learn how to snack smart by preparing healthy snacks that both satisfy the urge to snack while providing a health benefit. Try these new ways to prepare some old favorite snacks so they can still be part of a low calorie, healthy diet.

Flavored Popcorn
Popcorn has long been recommended as a snack option for a low calorie, heart healthy diet. It is whole grain, easy to tuck an un-popped microwave bag into a backpack or purse, easy to prepare and it’s boring. Spice up microwave popcorn with of your favorite spices or toppings so the old healthy standby will taste new and different.

Pop a bag of plain popcorn, then shake in some red chili powder or paprika for a fiery and crunchy snack. Create an Indian inspired snack by heating one teaspoon of oil in a pan, then adding one-half teaspoon each of ground cumin, turmeric and red chili flakes and let sizzle for one minute. Add one-half cup of roasted peanuts to the bag of popcorn and pour hot spice mixture over popcorn. Top with juice from half a lemon if desired. If sweet is more your taste, melt a little dark chocolate and drizzle over popped corn or sprinkle the snack with ground cinnamon.

Wrap It Up
Create a healthy snack by starting with a whole wheat wrap, add some low fat toppings and wrap it up. Great for on-the-go snacking or as a healthy dessert choice. Lay whole wrap flat and spread with a thin layer of reduced fat peanut butter, then top with banana or apple slices, raisins, strawberries or any other favorite fruit. Drizzle a little melted dark chocolate over the peanut butter and fruit mix, wrap it up and enjoy as-is or heated in microwave or on stove top.

Healthy Pizza
Pizza can be a healthy snack choice, it all depends on what sits atop the pizza dough. Start with a ready-made, individual size pizza crust and top with fresh sliced fruit or veggies. Tomato based pizza sauce contains Lycopene, an anti-oxidant compound which provides several health benefits, so start building a healthy pizza with a layer of tomato sauce and reduced fat xccheese (another healthy food when eaten in moderation), heat until cheese melts, then top with a variety of fresh vegetables. If fresh fruit pizza is more to your liking, mash some fresh berries with the back of spoon, spread on whole wheat crust, then top with slice fruit and a drizzle of melted dark chocolate. Low fat yogurt can also be used as the base spread for a healthy fresh fruit pizza.

Dark Chocolate
You can still eat chocolate and maintain a low calorie, healthy diet. The key is selecting a good quality dark chocolate (which is packed with anti-oxidants) and eat it in moderation. One to two ounces per day is considered a moderate amount. Dark chocolate can be eaten as-is or used in recipes just like milk chocolate, and it will elevate any snack when melted (in microwave) and drizzled on top.

Barry Zagreb writes about health, parenting & finding the best homeowners insurance quote.

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