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Healthy snacking

September 29, 2011
By Stacey Kukkonen ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

HANCOCK - Away from home, it's convenient to snag something from a vending machine for a quick snack but that's not always the healthiest route to take.

Tara Lassila, a registered dietitian at Portage Health in Hancock, offered some tips for healthy snacking on the go, whether it be stepping out of the house for just a few hours or spending the day in the office.

It may be easy to reach for the change drawer and peruse the vending machine at the office, but Lassila said it's best to consider the options first.

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Stacey Kukkonen/Daily Mining Gazette
Fresh fruits are an example of a healthy snack. While it is not as convenient to snack healthy when on the go, with a little extra preparation, eating healthy is not as difficult.

"I would probably steer clear from most candy bars or chips which have a high caloric density and can lead to unwanted weight gain if eaten in excess portions," she said.

Often, vending machines carry things from baked chips to granola bars, which can be a bit more healthy. However, Lassila said it's important to plan ahead for healthy snacking.

"When you know there's not going to be the healthiest choices, whether at work, school or community event, bring something from home," she said.

This could mean grabbing a banana or a handful of grapes before walking out the door, she said, eliminating the possibility of having a limited amount of choices.

When shopping for healthy snacks, Lassila said avoid the sweet and salty bars, but rather collect items to create snacks just by combining different flavors.

"I have readily available string cheese with whole grain crackers or a sliced apple with some peanut butter," she said.

Lassila also suggested pre-cut and washed veggies with hummus, and always keeping the flavor exciting by combining two different food groups.

"It keeps your taste buds wanting more," she said.

For kids, Lassila suggested sending them off to school with an apple or orange, which travel well.

"It's good to snack on healthy foods between meals to curb hunger and cause you to eat less at the next meal," she said.



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