Dummies guide to healthy snacks

Do you want to lose weight or just be healthier? Articles everywhere tell me to start with healthy snacks. It's simple, just ditch the midmorning donut for a handful of nuts or replace the 1,000 calorie brownie and ice cream dessert for berries and yogurt. Simple enough. Until it comes time to put action to that simple advice. For instance, when I'm sitting at work and see the e-mail announcing the weekly Tuesday delivery of free Panera pasteries. I could deny my hunger that indulgence and instead eat a handful of nuts and berries--if only I had any nuts or berries at hand. That's when I realize, I don't need to hear that my favorite sweets are bad for me or that I'd be healthier if I instead ate an apple, I need the dummies how-to guide on eating healthier snacks. It goes something like this:

Step 1: Choose an appealing, healthy snack or treat. Think easy like dried bananas or wheat crackers with cheese, then think preparation needed like sliced apples or a fruit smoothy. Write it down--this is the wish list.

Step 2: Take above "wish list" to the store and purchase desired healthy items. This is essential to the success of healthy snacking. It can't be eaten if it doesn't exist when hunger pangs. This is called "planning ahead."

Step 3: Immediately jump into a situation where treats are usually eaten. Invite a friend over to watch a movie or a weekly show, but do not purchase the usual ice cream--even if it's Waffle Cone Wednesday--the treat shopping is already done.

Step 4: Now walk to the counter, pull out two delicious green and red apples and cut them up. Piling them on a small plate will help give the illusion of indulgence. This step could also be pulling out frozen peaches and the blender for a smoothy, or dishing up some yogort and berries.

Step 5: Eat, and pat self on the back for successfully replacing a cookie dough fest with a healthy, apple indulgence.

Is this necessary? My sugary bagel snack while reading the "latest" health tips on MSN says, "Yes."