When you need a snack, think about these options for quick treats that don't add too many calories to the day's total. They are recommended by Jane Jakubczak, a registered dietitian and nutritionist, and Daphne Oz, author of "The Dorm Room Diet."
* Reduced-fat microwave popcorn. Microwave popcorn is low enough in calories (about 20 per cup) that you can eat a lot. Bonus: Popcorn counts as a whole grain.
* Almonds. Oz recommends almonds for late-night snacks, as they are full of nutrients and healthful fats but don't load you down with carbohydrates. But nuts are highly caloric, so portion size is key. Try buying almonds in 100-calorie packs.
* Chocolate-dipped strawberries. This fancy but easy confection is also in Oz's book. She swears by it as a quick cure for chocolate cravings. You get fiber and valuable vitamins, including C, from the strawberries. You can also substitute bananas, pineapple or another favorite. About 50 calories per dipped strawberry.
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* Chocolate pudding cups. Choose the kind made with nonfat milk, Jakubczak suggests, and you'll get chocolate flavor without too many calories. The pre-filled cups are excellent portion controllers, and you get a nice little dose of calcium and dairy. About 100 calories per serving.
* Nonfat chocolate milk. For just a few extra calories, skim chocolate milk appeases your sweet tooth and provides calcium to boot. In the winter, after a long walk with friends, pop it in the microwave for hot chocolate. One cup has about 150 calories.
Make cold-weather drinks healthier
Popular cold-weather beverages can be packed with calories, fat and sugar. Here are tips from Gloria Tsang, a Washington-based registered dietitian, to make drinks healthier:
* Substitute ingredients. Hot chocolate and eggnog still taste great with low-fat or skim milk instead of whole. You can also use egg substitutes in eggnog and keep it liquor-free.
* Add some cinnamon to hot apple cider to help improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels. And drink a glass of red wine for antioxidants that may protect against heart disease and eye problems.
* Stick to small sizes. Think of treats such as eggnog lattes and mochas as desserts, not drinks.
* Beware of mulled wine. Adding sugar and spices to wine boosts the calorie count: a 5 oz. glass of mulled wine has about 175 calories, compared with about 125 in a glass of red wine. Have one small glass of mulled wine and then stick to plain — or water.
* Hold the toppings. Cutting whipped cream from a drink such as a peppermint mocha can save 60 to 70 calories and six to seven grams of fat.
—Newport News Daily Press