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Snack Smart

Smarter snacking

Have you upgraded your snacks in the interest of more healthful eating?

It's a great idea to choose snacks wisely, says Harvard Medical School. But many foods that seem to be a great nutrition value aren't. Bran muffins and cereal bars can be packed with unhealthy fats and added sugar. Fat-free foods often contain lots of added salt and sugar.

Here are seven tips for smarter snacking.

* Go for the grain. Whole-grain snacks, such as whole-grain low- salt pretzels or tortilla chips and high-fiber, whole-grain cereals, can give you some energy with staying power.

* Bring back breakfast. Many breakfast foods can be re-purposed as a nutritious snack later in the day.

* Try a "hi-low" combination. Combine a small amount of something with healthy fat, like peanut butter, with a larger amount of something light, like apple slices or celery sticks.

* Go nuts. Unsalted nuts and seeds make a great snack. Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, roasted pumpkin seeds, cashews, hazelnuts, filberts and others contain many beneficial nutrients and are more likely to leave you feeling full.

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