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New Year New You, Helping you manage your weight in 2017

PLAN AHEAD. Think of snacks as mini meals and give them planning time as you would a full meal. Having healthy snacks on hand and preparing them in advance will make healthy snacking seem effortless.

GET THE GEAR. Measuring cups, small containers, and snack sized baggies will help with portion control. Plus, prepackaging individual bags of whole grain crackers or cereal is a great activity for children to help them learn the concept of measuring while working on fine motor skills.

PROTEIN POWER! Pair a protein with a carbohydrate at every snack. This will keep you satisfied until your next meal much longer than a snack that is solely carbs.

SEE-FOOD DIET. Research shows foods that are easily accessible are more likely consumed. Use this to your advantage, keep bowls of fruit or almonds out on your counter or desk and keep the less-than-healthy foods out of sight.

STAY TUNED IN. Are you really hungry? Often we are bored or thirsty and wind up reaching for a snack anyway. Tune in and listen to what your body is saying.

Here are some ideas to satisfy your snack cravings while still helping you reach your goals:

SATISFY YOUR SWEET TOOTH. Savor a handful of almonds with a dark chocolate square to give your body protein, fiber and sweetness. Or try Greek yogurt with fresh berries for a refreshing sweet treat.

CRAVING A CRUNCH? Reach for air-popped popcorn or whole grain tortilla chips that have been pre-portioned with fiber-rich black bean salsa.

BE NUTTY. Pair 1 tablespoon of nut butter with an apple, celery, or whole grain bread.

CHEESE PLEASE. Couple cheese cubes or string cheese with crackers for the perfect carb-protein pair!

EGG-CELLENT SNACK. Eggs aren’t just for breakfast; they make a delicious snack too. Try a microwaved omelet by mixing veggies, eggs, and a splash of milk in a coffee mug and heating until cooked through or make hardboiled eggs ahead of time.