nuts270Keeping healthy snacks on hand is a good first step to keeping your family eating healthy. While keeping the pantry stocked with healthy staples increases the chances you will be able to serve healthy family meals, pantry shelves littered with snacks packed with fat, salt and sugar will sabotage your best intentions. 
“People eat what surrounds them,” says Lucy Cole, registered dietician. “If you surround yourself with high-quality food at home and eat there most of the time, you certainly deserve the rare occasions you splurge on treats outside the home.”
 
Cole urges her clients to weigh a snack’s worth not by what it’s missing, but by what it contributes to the day.
 
“Snacks should offer nutritional quality to you and your family’s daily food intake,” she said. “A low-fat potato chip may have less fat than a regular one, but in the end, a chip is a chip.”
 
And don’t fool yourself into thinking low-fat and low-sugar options are better.
 
“Usually, when they take out the fat, they add sugar or salt to boost the flavor,” said Cole. “When they take out the sugar, they often add fat.”
 
To satisfy snack attacks, Cole recommends keeping these items on hand:
 
·         Plain popcorn
·         Mixed nuts, including almonds and walnuts
·         Dried fruits, especially figs and berries, which are loaded with fiber
·         Whole wheat crackers and cheese
·         Quick-bread mixes, which can be improved nutritionally by adding chopped dried fruit and nuts
·         Peanut butter, great for spreading on apples, bananas (and those whole wheat crackers)
·         Plain, low-fat yogurt
·         Tea