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Healthy Snacks for Teens

Betcha Can't Eat Just One!

Even when you choose healthy snacks, it can be hard to limit your snack portions. That's especially true when you get home from school and are ready to devour anything that's not moving!

To control portions, measure one serving of your snack the night before and put this in a zipper plastic sandwich bag. Then your pre-measured, packaged snack will be ready when you get home.

For example, you could put 1 cup of your favorite whole- grain cereal in the plastic bag and leave it out on the kitchen counter. When you get home, pour the cereal into a bowl and top it with fruit and low-fat milk. Or put five whole-grain crackers in your sandwich bag. The next afternoon, grab a string cheese out of the fridge and enjoy your snack.

You can also take your snack bag to school with you, if you're staying late for sports or clubs. It's better to know what you're eating (trail mix, cheese and crackers, or almonds and dried cranberries) and than to impulse-snack from the vending machine or fast food restaurants.

What Foods Are Best?

The best snacks include complex carbohydrates, low-fat dairy, and low-fat protein:

  • Complex carbohydrates. Good choices include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and legumes, hummus, and edamame ( steamed Japanese soybeans).
  • Low-fat dairy products. Good choices include low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese.
  • Low-fat protein. Good choices include lean chicken, turkey or fish

What Foods Do I Watch Out For?

Avoid refined carbohydrates, foods that are high in sugar and white flour. Limit white potatoes (or chips), sweets, candy, sugary drinks, and pastries. These foods can cause your blood sugar to spike rapidly, which may trigger a hunger attack when it falls again.

Also stay away from expensive "power bars." If you look at the label, you'll see most protein bars, energy bars, and sports bars are just candy bars in disguise (they've added a few vitamins). Most power bars are high in calories, too.

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