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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.

Get Coupons for Healthy Snacks!

Many of us have been coupon-collecting lately in an effort to reduce our grocery bills. I recently learned about an excellent Web site that makes it easy to find coupons for your favorite products and stores. It’s called Coupon Cabin, and you should definitely check it out!  Go to the site and click on “grocery coupons.” You’ll find coupons from a variety of healthy-snack makers, including Cascadian Farms, Nature Valley (which makes my favorite granola bars—I always eat one before a long run or race), Organic Valley, Quaker, SoyJoy, Stoneyfield Farm, and more.

Healthy snacks, especially organic ones, are often more expensive than processed snacks and junk food. And I know everyone is trying to save money these days. But hopefully these coupons will be helpful, and you won’t have to give up some of your favorite good-for-you treats.

(Thanks to DailyCandy, the e-mail newsletter I subscribe to, for tipping me off about Coupon Cabin!)

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