Don’t let the post-strike return of your favorite shows derail your diet. Mindless munching in front of the television can make it easy to inhale a whole bag of chips or tub of Ben & Jerry’s before the second commercial break.
But I’m not trying to convince you to indulge in an episode of "Gossip Girl" without a little edible indulgence, too — just make it a portion-controlled treat. One way to do this is to have a special “OK” shelf in the fridge or cabinet and stay away from the more damaging edibles — like the Wheat Thins and Brie that I keep for special occasions and mindful — not mindless — eating! Fix yourself one of these 150-calorie bites to enjoy your snack without a side of guilt. Crudités and Yogurt Dip Prepare or buy at a deli four of each of the following: broccoli florets, carrot sticks, celery sticks and sliced bell pepper strips. To make the dip: Combine 3/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt with 2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro and 1/2 teaspoon each chili powder and garlic powder. Bonus: You’ll get four servings of veggies, plus vitamins A and C, which help your immune system fight against germs.
Spicy Edamame Boil 3/4 cup preshelled edamame in a small saucepan for 5 minutes. Drain. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon chili powder (or garlic salt); toss to coat. (Lazy me: I order it from the sushi place and pick up on the way home.) Bonus: Edamame contains iron, a nutrient that’s crucial in promoting healthy blood cells.
Sweet Maple Popcorn Drizzle 5 teaspoons pure maple syrup over 1 3/4 cups hot air-popped popcorn. Sprinkle with salt, if desired. Bonus: This sweet snack contains fiber, a waist whittler that’s also good for your ticker. Chocolate Yogurt Pops In a blender, puree 1 1/2 cups lowfat vanilla yogurt, 1/3 cup cold water, 2 packets sweetened cocoa powder mix and 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder. Pour into four 4-ounce ice-pop molds. Freeze overnight. Bonus: These pops pack protein, key for building muscles, as well as calcium, which helps maintain strong bones.