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Hungry Girl Today: 12.19.12

Hi Hungry Girl,

I'm a college student, and when it's crunch time for a paper or a test, I like to CRUNCH on snack foods. However, most of my favorites are loaded with fat and calories. What crunchy snacks do you recommend?

College Cruncher

Hi College Cruncher,

There's something VERY satisfying about munching on crunchy foods, isn't there? And while you might ace that paper, you don't want to fail at your food endeavors by letting the snacking get out of hand. Play it smart with my guilt-free crunchy snack picks...

If you have a fridge (or mini fridge), keep a jar of pickles around. They're crisp and delicious, and they're really low in calories. (Just stick with a few at a time -- they're pretty high in sodium.) Precut raw veggies are also great because you really can't overdo it with them -- they're perfect if you're prone to mindless munching. Baby carrots are classic, but add some variety with sugar snap peas, jicama sticks, and sliced bell peppers. Then keep a jar of salsa on hand for dipping! And keep a few wheels of The Laughing Cow Light cheese wedges in your fridge -- that stuff is amazing on high-fiber flatbread-style crackers. Wasa Crispbreads give a nice crunchy bang for your calorie buck.

No fridge? No problem. Baked or popped chips are a satisfying crunchy snack. Just stick with portion-controlled options like 100-calorie bags of Popchips (BTW, the new Tortilla Chips ROCK), or portion out a larger bag into single-serving plastic baggies ahead of time so you don't accidentally eat an entire multi-serving bag at once. I'm also a fan of Quaker Popped rice snacks. So many awesome flavors -- Cheddar Cheese, Sweet Chili, Ranch, etc. -- and 140 calories or less per serving (13 - 18 pieces). If you're all about volume snacking and if you have microwave access, 94% fat-free microwave popcorn is the way to go. You can have about FIVE cups for 100 calories, and popcorn's packed with fiber. If you're a sucker for nuts, it's really important to keep portions in check, because the calories and fat grams can add up quickly. That's why I like 100-calorie packs of almonds, like the ones from Blue Diamond and Emerald.

Have a sweet tooth? Quaker makes delicious dessert-y flavors of those rice snacks, like Caramel Corn and Vanilla Cr