Make over your snack break

We’ve all been in the 3 o’clock snack slump, prey to a lowly vending machine or coffee maker that wishes to shower us in sugary, salty, fatty treats. But a little pre-planning can go a long way into turning that afternoon showdown into a victory over your cravings. We enlisted Erin Palinski, R.D., to teach us (and we mean us — she gave a presentation to the entire Metro editorial staff!) some healthy swaps for the chocolate bars and mocha drinks that we’re so keen on. Most importantly, how do they taste? Well, let’s just say the samples Palinski brought with her were gone before she was.

When you want something salty, reach for: Pirate’s Booty
These all-natural baked snacks will satisfy for your craving for something crunchy, all for half the fat and fewer calories. $1.49 per 1 oz. bag, grocery stores

PiratesBooty
When you want something sweet and salty, reach for: Kind Nut & Spices Bar
These bars contain “ingredients you can actually see and pronounce,” Palinski says, and pack just 5 grams of sugar or less per bar —unlike candy bars, which are loaded with sugar and bad fats. $2 per bar, grocery stores

KINDBars-NutSpice


When you want peanut butter, reach for: Van’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Whole Grain Snack Bars
What makes these gluten-free PB treats special? They boast four times the fiber of other gluten-free bars out there today. They also pack a serious punch of whole grains. $4.50, www.vansfoods.com

Vans_FB-SnackBars-PBC
When you want something chocolately, reach for: Emerald’s Cocoa Roasted Nuts
You likely know that almonds are great for your heart, but if their taste has been holding you back, give these chocolate-dusted nuts a whirl. “Cocoa powder is rich in heart-healthy flavonoids with none of the added sugar and fat, making it a great way to add sweetness and flavor without increasing your calorie intake,” Palinski says. $5.89, grocery stores

Cocoa Roast

When you want fruity candy, reach for: Brothers All Natural Fruit Crisps
Dried fruit can be a great substitute — if there’s no added sugar. But with this freeze-dried fruit, “the only ingredient is actual fruit- providing you with antioxidants and vitamins you won’t find in candy.” $1, www.brothersallnatural.com

Fruit-Crisps-variety

When you want a soda, reach for: Polar Seltzer
A naturally-flavored seltzer like Polar “provides the same satisfaction of soda, but none of the sugar or calories, and none of the artificial ingredients,” says Palinski. $1.19, grocery stores

Polar_Summer 2013
When you want a coffee, reach for: Zico Latte
The new ZICO Latte is a coffee-coconut water hybrid containing electrolytes, which hydrate better than water, and naturally occurring caffeine (a little less than a cup of coffee). “Coffee drinks can be loaded with added sugars, calories, and even saturated fat,” Palinski says. “[This] is lower in calories, sugar and fat than most pre-made coffee drinks.” $2.79 per 14 oz. bottle, grocery stores

14oz ZICO Latte


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