Having a list of healthy snacks...saves time, stress and the waistline.

Start putting together a list of healthy snacks, not all snacks need necessary be low calorie snacks, but the snacks you choose to have on any particular day, the calorie count may be important if what you've already eaten, or intend to eat for the rest of the day are going to make up a large proportion of your energy intake.

Keeping your list of healthy snacks close to hand

Put a copy on the fridge and keep a copy of your list with your grocery list.

In my reality, one of the biggest difficulties to eating, and particularly snacking, healthy and low fat, was the lack of time and brain power to think about what to eat on the spur of the moment.

I'd feel hungry, but it was always while I was trying to get some work done, or when the kids were milling around looking for a toy or their clothes, or I would be rushing to get out the door, realise I needed to take something to eat with me, and then I'd have to try and think what would be a good option.

More often than not, I'd grab the easiest thing I could find - a muesli bar and an apple. Which doesn't sound too bad, except that muesli bars are not low calorie snacks, and if I had already eaten some high calories foods, and then had high energy foods also planned for dinner, before I knew it I had consumed a lot of high energy foods...a lot more energy than I needed.

By keeping a list of healthy snacks on the fridge, I didn't have to try and think about it so much. If I kept the list next to one that had a rough scribble of the main meals I was eating for the day, then a quick glance at both lists would do two things:

(1) tell me whether I should put in a higher energy snack, because the main meals were quite light, or the other way around, remind me to stick to low energy foods, and

(2) give me an instant snack selection to choose from, which prevents me from getting bored with eating the same foods all the time

As my habits changed, there was less need for the lists, but I still keep them because they give me variety. If I open the fridge and the foods I see are always the same, and I'm a little pushed for time...I keep eating the same things...and that gets boring, and it restricts the variety in my diet, and the healthy nutrients I'm getting.

The list of healthy snacks reminds me that there's actually more in the fridge and cupboard than I realise.

Start your list of healthy snacks now...then build on it

You don't need to wait until you've shopped, or until you have 15 things before you get moving with you're list. Just start it now.

What's in your house now, and what interesting things can you come up with right at this moment. There doesn't need to be any special time or great important procedure to use.

Grab a pen, a piece of paper and a fridge magnet. What have you got? An apple in the fridge...on your list you could have: grated apple, sprinkled with cinnamon and a little (I do mean little) brown sugar, an apple (just as it is is good), microwaved baked apple (core it, peel it, put into a microwave proof dish with a little water and microwave for 4-5 minutes...baked apple), with a teaspoon of low fat cream, or half a scoop of low fat frozen yoghurt, or a light sprinkle of sugar.

There you go, already three variations on the humble apple.

What else? Muesli bars. These go on the list of healthy snacks too. It's not that the occasional muesli bar is 'bad' for you...it's not. If you haven't eaten enough so far, or you've realised you haven't eaten breakfast and you're out the door...then a muesli bar is okay, and healthy...just don't eat them everyday and don't have 4...rather have one and a banana and an apple.

Tinned baked beans...yep very healthy, and high in fibre. Or do you have nuts in the cupboard. While they are high in fats, they are good for you...just not if you eat a treeful! So your list might say...one handful almonds, or brazil nuts. Do watch the salted variety...a better choice is unsalted. Salt is one of those things we really don't need to add (or have added for us) to any foods, most of us get enough as it is.

Start your list now, then add to it as more ideas come to you, within 5 minuted from now, you can already be on your way to choosing healthier snacks next time you need one...and you'll have to think less about it...because you'll already have started a reference list for yourself right where you can see and use it all the time...on your fridge, or on your cupboard.

Try grouping your list of healthy snacks in ways that suit you

If you have difficulty fitting certain foods into your diet, grouping your snacks can help.

You can group them into low calorie snacks and high calories snacks, or snacks with calcium, snacks with carbohydrates, snacks can eat all day, snacks to limit...and so on, group them in ways that work for you.

I often don't get enough calcium, it's just that calcium rich foods like milk and yoghurt are not foods that come to mind easily when I'm hungry, even if they're in the fridge, so I keep these listed in a group. A reminder to myself to watch my calcium intake.

Carbohydrates I have no trouble eating, in fact I have to watch that these don't make up the majority of what I snack on. So high carbohydrate snacks are grouped under a heading that says...'How many have you already had?'

You might group them under 'fruit snacks' or 'travel snacks' and 'home snacks'. It doesn't matter, just group them in a way that works for you. Either to remind you what to beware of, or what to eat more of. It's about what works for you and your life.

A list of healthy snacks takes the pressure off

Having a list takes the pressure off you of having to think too hard. Usually when you feel like a snack you're already hungry, it takes a lot of work, while you're stomachs growling, to think about what choices you have available to you, and what you could do with those foods, and what you feel like.

Having a list alleviates this. Glance through the list, open the fridge or cupboard and eat. On top of that. I don't tend to think very clearly when I'm rushed or focused on other things, so I tend to grab the first thing that I see, which isn't always a healthy option...it's just close and I'm hungry! Having a list reduces the chance that I'll grab something that is not a good option.

Start now. what do you already have today, this minute that you can start your list off with?

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