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Sensible snacking solutions

When mid-morning or afternoon hunger hits, that dreaded energy drain can make us reach for a little boost. It is tempting to grab indulgent snack foods, so it's wise to plan out well-portioned, healthy snacks ahead of time.

These perfect portion ideas from the Almond Board of California make smart snacking decisions easy:

• A nutritious snack is packed with nutrients and has fewer than 200 calories.

• Energy-boosting snacks should contain protein, fibre and very little added sugar.

• A perfect portion of almonds is one ounce (28g) or 23 almonds - about a handful - and contains 3.5 grams of fibre and 6 grams of protein.

• One tablespoon (15 mL) of almond butter has about 100 calories, 1 gram of fibre and 2 grams of protein to help keep you satisfied until your next meal.

Try these power-pairings for the ideal mid-morning or mid-afternoon pick-me-up:

• Whole-grain bread or apple slices with almond butter;

• A small handful of whole natural almonds and dried fruit;

• Sliced turkey with mustard;

• Low-fat Greek yogurt or cottage cheese and granola;

• Air-popped vegetable chips or soy chips and hummus;

• Handful of whole natural almonds and an ounce of cheese;

• An ounce each of dark chocolate and almonds.

Or, assemble this bite-sized snack. With only three ingredients, it is simple to prepare, plus the 6 grams of protein and 3.5 grams of fibre will provide you with energy during those mid-morning or afternoon slumps.

Dried Figs Stuffed with Almonds and Cream Cheese

Makes 2 cups

Ingredients

½ cup (125 mL) dried black or golden figs

¼ cup (50 mL) reduced-fat cream cheese¼ cup (50 mL) whole natural almonds

Directions

Make a lengthwise slit in each fig, not cutting all the way through. Spread a teaspoon of cream cheese inside each hole, and stuff with one or two almonds. Serve.

More information is available online at AlmondBoard.com.

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