01/06/2014 08:05 EST | Updated 03/08/2014 05:59 EST

Tips for healthy snacking include small portions, lots of water, slow eating

Registered Dietitians of Canada have several suggestions on ways to make snacks work to your benefit.

— Try to include foods from at least two of the four food groups from Canada's Food Guide for each snack.

— Keep a variety of healthy ready-to-eat snacks on hand, such as low-fat yogurt, fresh fruit or vegetables or whole-grain crackers with hummus, peanut butter or low-fat cheese.

— Buy small packages of food or take small portions from larger packages. Don't snack directly from a large container, bag or box.

— Eat slowly.

— Save snacks that are higher in calories, fat, sugar, or salt and lower in fibre for special occasions and try to combine them with a healthier option. For example, have one cookie with a piece of fruit rather than 2 or 3 cookies.

— Drink water often. Limit servings of regular pop and fruit drinks, which are high in calories and low in nutrients.

Avoid snacking while watching TV, working or playing on the computer, reading, or driving, when you might be inclined to eat more than if you were paying attention.

— Limit snacks to no more than 3 per day.

Source: Registered Dietitians of Canada,