If you’re looking for an afternoon snack and you’re afraid potato chips will come back to haunt you this summer, try a handful of pecans instead.  These nutritious tree nuts will keep your stomach from growling – and, used wisely, keep it from growing. Pecans are a tasty and healthy substitute for traditional snack foods.  These power-packed tree nuts contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals, and they’re cholesterol-free.  In addition, pecans contain the most antioxidant capacity of any other nut, which means they may help fight diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer and heart disease.

There’s no better time to start eating healthy by substituting pecans for other snack foods.  Here are a few suggestions from the National Pecan Shellers Association:

  • Instead of chips, which are loaded with sodium, bring about 20 pecan halves to work to snack on throughout the day.  Pecans are naturally sodium-free,
  • Substitute pecans for a candy bar when you’re looking for an afternoon pick-me-up.  Research has shown people who eat pecans feel fuller longer.  Pecans provide that long-lasting energy because they contain heart-healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats.  Plus, a handful of pecan halves contain the same amount of fiber as a medium-sized apple.
  • Sprinkle pecans on top of your yogurt and you’ll get more zinc – an important nutrient for proper growth and strong immunity.