By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS

Chickpeas

While fresh cut fruit and vegetables are always a snack option, what about when you’re craving junk food?

Consider the spicy oven-roasted chickpea — crispy nuggets filled with goodness.

Heartily seasoned, they’re big in taste, yet low in sodium. That makes them a great substitute for people who binge on unhealthy crunchy snacks, such as chips, said Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., R.D., a nutrition professor at Penn State University.

Proper snacking can actually help reduce overeating as it can help provide dietary fiber, calcium, vitamins that are lacking, said Linda Van Horn, Ph.D., professor for preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

The key is to pick up the right snack. Some other healthy replacements people can try are: low-fat and low-salt popcorn; baby carrots and hummus; roasted cauliflower; and whole grain unsalted pretzels.

People actually eat the worst when they feel lazy, Kris-Etherton said.

So instead of popping open a junk food bag, she advises people to invest the few minutes to prepare a healthy and satisfying snack ahead of time – such as spicy chickpeas.

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