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The smart girl's guide to snacking

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All snacks aren't created equal. Here's how to make the best choice, whatever your craving.
 
Plain Chocolate (50g) Vs Potato Crisps
Expert's Verdict: Crisps are technically healthier than chocolate, since they have much less saturated fat, but neither options give any nutrients, says Fiona Kirk, nutritionist and author of So What The F*** Should I Eat? "Potatoes contribute to our vitamin C intake, but the way crisps are prepared destroys most of the vitamin C. Dark chocolate has a wealth of antioxidants, but it also has a large amount of saturated fat, which can increase cholesterol levels and is high in calories."
 
Unsalted Peanuts Vs Unsalted Almonds
Expert's Verdict: It's a close call; both nuts are high in protein and low in sugar. Peanuts have marginally fewer calories, but almonds win for their low saturated fat level. "In general nuts are high in fat but contain nutrients such as Vitamin B1, which unlock energy and help your heart," explains Dr Emma Williams of the British Nutrition Foundation. "Only buy unsalted nuts - you shouldn't eat more than 1tsp of salt per day."
 
Low-Fat Natural Yoghurt Vs Fruit Sorbet
Expert's Verdict: "Low-fat yoghurt with fresh fruit is the preferred option," according to Dr Williams. It's a great protein-rich snack, "loaded with healthy bacteria." But stick to natural; fruit versions are high in sugar. "Watch out for the sugar levels of low-fat sorbets too," warns Kirk. "Avoid sugar or sugar substitutes (words ending in - ose or -ol)."
 
Apple Vs Banana
Expert's Verdict: These fruits are equally brilliant, so Kirk's advice is to eat both. "Apples have no fat or salt and contain vitamins A, B1, B2 and C (vital for a strong immune system), plus magnesium and iron, essential for healthy bones and blood," she says. "Bananas are high in potassium - essential for the balance of water in the body." Because apples fill you up for just as long as bananas, yet have fewer calories, they win.
 
Low-fat houmous Vs Cheddar Cheese
Expert's Verdict: Not much competition here. Houmous has fewer calories, lower fat and lower sugar. "There's more protein in cheese, which you definitely need in your diet for bone density and growth," explains Dr Williams. "So don't rule cheese out of your diet entirely, just have it in moderation." Combine the houmous with carrot/cucumber sticks or cherry tomatoes for an extra health kick.

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