1. Include Snacks in Your Diet

Contrary to popular belief, snacking—done right—can give your metabolism a boost! Here’s why: When you slash too many calories from your diet, your body gets the signal that it should protect its reserves of carbs and fat, and your metabolism slows as a result. To prevent this, eat several small, low-fat, high-fiber snacks between meals to keep your body from going into “preservation” mode. Snacking in this manner will add to your total intake of essential nutrients for the day—that’s always a good thing! You’ll find that snacking will also take the edge off hunger between meals, so when you sit down to eat, you’re more likely to consume fewer calories.

2. Choose Healthy Snacks

Try some of these smart snacks as part of your healthy eating plan:

• Half a bagel with peanut butter

• Raw vegetables with low-fat or fat-free dressing

• Fruit yogurt topped with low-fat granola cereal

• Low-fat cottage cheese topped with fresh fruit

• Fresh fruit

• Light microwave popcorn

• Pita bread stuffed with fresh veggies and low-fat dressing

• Low-fat string cheese

• Whole-grain cereal and fat-free milk

• Vegetable juice

3. Try Hummus

It’s hard to complain about hummus. All of the ingredients used to produce it—chickpeas, olive or canola oil, pureed sesame seeds (also known as tahini), lemon juice, spices, and garlic—are extremely good for you and most are known to boost the metabolism. Chickpeas are an excellent source for energy; they’re made of complex carbohydrates and protein, and tahini is rich in minerals, fatty acids, and amino acids. So, enjoy, but keep your intake in check because hummus is high in calories; if you’re using it as a dip, it’s easy to eat a lot of it. We recommend spreading 2 tablespoons of hummus on a slice of whole-grain bread or eating a ¼ cup of hummus with carrots or broccoli.

4. Have a Little Peanut Butter

Peanuts are a great source of energy. They contain 25 grams of protein per 100-gram serving, and most of the fat is mono-and polyunsaturated fat. They also are packed with niacin, which is one of the most effective vitamins for increasing your good cholesterol. Peanuts also have the flavonoid resveratrol—also found in red wine—that may contribute to fat loss. But, as we also know, peanuts and peanut butter are high in calories, so consume them in moderation.

5. Keep Healthy Snacks in Plain View

Store healthy snacks in attractive glass containers to keep them visible and easily accessible. Store fresh fruit in bowls on the counter and raw vegetables in plastic containers on the top shelf of your refrigerator. If you have unhealthy snacks, push them back in dark corners of cup-boards you rarely use—or better yet, don’t buy them in the first place. Train yourself to reach for the healthy snacks, make them easy to grab, and you’ll soon become so accustomed to this behavior that it will be a natural habit.

6. Take Healthy Snacks on the Road

When traveling, to avoid having your hunger dictate your food choices, plan ahead to ensure you have healthy snacks on hand. Fruit, nut, and seed mixtures or slices of cheese with whole-wheat crackers, whole fruits, raw vegetables, or even low-sugar granola bars, are far preferable to chips, candy bars, milkshakes, or the myriad of poor choices that are readily available at every gas station or market. Also, take along bottles of water or fruit juice to quench your thirst.

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