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Curb Your Cravings

Sometimes you just need a little something to appease your sweet tooth, or maybe you need to satisfy a small craving for something creamy or salty. The key to this is adjusting the portion size. However, since no sane person carries around measuring spoons to pull out at snack time, here is an easy way to guage 60-80 calories:

2 easy ways to measure:

· Open handful (not overflowing, but can't close into a tight fist) = 60-80 calories for larger-sized items (chips, crackers, pretzels)

· Closed handful (tight fist - completely shut, can't see what's inside your fist) = 60-80 calories for smaller sized things like nuts and candies.

If possible, go with prepackaged to help you stick to one serving. If the container is sitting in your pantry, or desk drawer, it is easy to go back and revisit it. Keep special treats in the freezer - take one out at a time and the rest stay out of sight. The freezer is a lot less visible space than the pantry or countertop.

Here are some easy ways to satisfy 4 common cravings for only 60-80 calories:

Soft-Salty (a.k.a. cheese-craving): Store brand, low-fat string cheese = 60 calories. Light Babybel works also (80 calories), but Babybel is more expensive and harder to find. Store brand is not only cheaper, but contains more protein and calcium.

Crunchy- Salty: Very hard to find prepackaged in the amounts you need - often a single serving size of chips or nuts will be more like 2-3 snack-sized servings. Open Handful mini triscuits (14-15) = 60 calories. Open handful of pretzels = 60 calories. Open handful chips = 80 calories. Closed handful of lightly salted nuts = 70 calories.

Frozen: Greek yogurt bars 70 calories instead of 120 calories in a Creamie. Prepackaged sundae cups = 80 calories. Frozen Fruit bars = check the flavor - most around 70 calories, but some can contain up to 120.

Sweet: Ghirardelli individually wrapped squares contain 65 calories. 3 Werther's toffee candies = 70 calories. Closed handful of M&Ms, Gummi Bears, Cinnamon Roast Almonds = 70-80 calories.

To satisfy more than one craving, try this Gorp recipe adapted from Cooking Light (Gorp stands for "good, old-fashioned raisins and peanuts")

Peanut Butter, Granola Gorp
Makes 3.5 cups
Serving size: open handful (1.5 Tbsp)
Serves: 9

· 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
· 1/4 cup maple-flavored syrup
· 1 cup low-fat granola with raisins (such as Kellogg's Low-fat Granola with Raisins)
· 32 tiny fat-free pretzels, broken into small pieces

· Cooking spray
· 1/2 cup dried cherries
· 1/2 cup 50% less sugar Craisins

Preparation
Preheat oven to 300°.

Combine peanut butter and syrup in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at high 30 seconds or until hot; stir well. Place granola and pretzels in a large bowl; pour peanut butter mixture over granola mixture, stirring to coat. Spread mixture in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 300° for 15 minutes, stirring twice. Stir in cherries and cranberries; return pan to oven. Turn oven off; cool mixture in closed oven 30 minutes. Remove from oven; cool completely. Crumble apart and store in sealed container or zip-top bag.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving

· Calories: 85
· Calories from fat: 23%
· Fat: 2 g
· Saturated fat: 0.3g
· Monounsaturated fat: .9g
· Polyunsaturated fat: .7g
· Protein: 1.8g
· Carbohydrate: 15g
· Fiber: 1g
· Sodium: 63mg

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