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Curbing Cravings

Eileen, mom of Lindsay, 5, and Erin, 4, Weston, MA

Gaining control of between-meal eating can be tough. Here's how this mom learned to control snack attacks, with help from Liz Weiss, a dietitian and coauthor of The Moms' Guide to Meal Makeovers:

"When I had a nine-to-five job, I ate healthy at work: a turkey sandwich for lunch, some cereal for a snack, and that was it for the day. But as a stay-at-home mom, all of these great-tasting kiddie snacks were right at my fingertips! While running errands or preparing dinner, I'd pick my way through my daughters' pretzels (which I dipped in ranch dressing), mini-chocolate-chip cookies, peanut butter crackers, and Goldfish. Once I got a taste, it was hard to find my 'off' switch.

The first thing Liz taught me was to get rid of snack guilt  -- it isn't the enemy. I just need to munch on nutritious foods. I started to buy only healthy treats for the whole family. As any mom knows, kids don't do well with sudden changes, so I transitioned slowly. To my surprise, the girls liked the nuts, smoothies, and dried fruit. Plus, I could get them to eat a few veggies if I cut them up and included a dab of low-fat ranch dressing.

Liz suggested that I pack snacks for myself before running out for daily activities. It was a new routine to learn, but in a few weeks I was portioning out low-fat popcorn, frozen berries, and cut-up fruits like a pro.

I also learned to make snacks special. I've always loved munching on nuts, but it's hard to get my hand out of the tin. So Liz recommended I roast a handful or two in the toaster oven so only a portion is available at a time.

With all these changes, I still have to really think about what I'm reaching for when I get hungry. But making conscious choices has definitely been key to my success in making better choices.