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A snack is a portion of food, often smaller than a regular meal, generally eaten between meals. Snacks come in a variety of forms including packaged snack foods and other processed foods, as well as items made from fresh ingredients at home.

Traditionally, snacks are prepared from ingredients commonly available in the home. Often cold cuts, fruit, leftovers, nuts, sandwiches, and the like are used as snacks. The Dagwood sandwich was originally the humorous result of a cartoon character's desire for large snacks. With the spread of convenience stores, packaged snack foods became a significant business. Snack foods are typically designed to be portable, quick, and satisfying. Processed snack foods, as one form of convenience food, are designed to be less perishable, more durable, and more portable than prepared foods. They often contain substantial amounts of sweeteners, preservatives, and appealing ingredients such as chocolate, peanuts, and specially-designed flavors (such as flavored potato chips).

Beverages, such as coffee, are not generally considered snacks though they may be consumed along with or in lieu of snack foods.

A snack eaten shortly before going to bed or during the night may be called a midnight snack.

Here’s One Way To Eat Healthier Snacks

Here’s a good way to make it a little easier to eat healthy snacks.

Decide before.

Decide before you’re hungry that you will get a certain snack this afternoon, and make it a healthy one. This way, you decrease the risk of grabbing something that is more convenient and perhaps less healthy, like a slice of pizza. A slice of pizza is tasty and super easy – just walk to the pizza place, get a slice and enjoy. Chances are, though, that you’ll also grab a soda to drink with the slice, and before you know it, your snack has turned into a high-calorie, high-sugar, high-carb, high-fat semi-meal.

Then, at 5:30 or 6:00 you’re going to head home and have dinner. Without realizing it, your mid-afternoon snack may have turned today into a pretty unhealthy day.

Now, as much as anyone else, I love to eat pizza. And, there is certainly nothing wrong with grabbing a slice and a soda every now and then, but to maintain a healthy body (and mind), we cannot eat pizza and drink soda every day in the afternoon, even if it is the easier choice. So, what I’m suggesting is todecide before you are hungry, before 3:30pm rolls around, that you will grab a banana, or an apple, or a fruit shake, or a small bag of whole-wheat pretzels, or even regular pretzels. You don’t have to do this every day, just a few more days than you are now. These little improvements go a long way.

 

Better yet, buy the banana or pretzels earlier in the day, so you have them in front of you. What’s easier when you’re hungry? Eating a small bag of pretzels that’s right in front of you, or schlepping down to the pizza joint? So, deciding before can help make the healthier choice for snacks easier, and that makes it more likely that we will have a healthy snack and feel better (and guilt-free) later. Give it a try.

Anyway, it’s 3:30 here now, and I’m going over to Jamba Juice to grab myself a small orange / strawberry / pineapple fruit shake, just like I decided I would this morning!

P.S. This also works for meals too. Deciding that tonight you will pick up a piece of fresh fish from the market and some vegetables and come home and heat them up for dinner, or deciding to order some healthy take-out when you get home from a particular restaurant decreases the risk of you just coming home with no plan and then ordering the easiest or most familiar foods, which usually turn out to be pizza and tacos (at least for me, that is).

Good luck!

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