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For Diet Success, Follow These 10 Tips on Snacking

Feel full and satisfied without adding pounds

6. Sip your food. Foods bulked up by water fill you up on fewer calories, so try a broth-based vegetable soup as a snack, advises Rolls of Penn State. "If you don't want to fuss, buy heat-and-eat soup," she says, "or make a big pot of broth filled with vegetables, pack it into single-serve containers, label and freeze." Then, when you're ready for a snack, zap one in the microwave.

7. Pay attention when eating your snack. To avoid mindless eating, concentrate on your food, advises Cheskin. "It's incredibly easy to overeat when you're distracted," he says. "There's no sense in having a snack if you get no pleasure from it." So turn off the television, close your book, forget the crossword puzzle and give your attention to your food.

8. Consider calcium. All of us need more calcium after we hit age 50, and snacking on fat-free dairy provides a great way to get more of this vital mineral without loading up on calories, says Rolls. Use a blender to whip up a thick, airy and filling smoothie with nonfat milk or yogurt, a banana, some frozen fruit and a few ice cubes.

9. Focus on protein. Calorie for calorie, protein is the most satisfying food, fat the least satisfying, says Cheskin. "A lot of people believe that fatty foods are filling," he continues. "They are, but only if you eat 1,000 calories worth. If you eat an equal amount of calories, then 200 calories of roast chicken breast will be a lot more filling than three one-inch cubes of Cheddar cheese." A high-protein, low-calorie snack is the best for curbing your appetite. Try some peanut butter on whole-grain crackers or a small serving of low-fat cottage cheese.

10. Drink the good beverages. Beverages are excellent snacks, says McTiernan, "but make sure to avoid sugary drinks." Coffee, tea and water are fine; if you add a lot of sugary syrup and whipped cream to that low-fat latte, it's no longer a low-calorie drink. "And rather than drinking fruit juice, which contains a lot of sugar, opt for the whole fruit, which contains fiber that helps you feel full."

You may also like: Stealth vegetables help dieters lose weight. >>

Nissa Simon, who lives in New Haven, Conn., writes about nutrition and medical issues.

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