We've had a good time since October, haven't we? There's been candy corn and Christmas cookies, stuffing and Champagne, pecan pie and peppermint. We've enjoyed big honking holiday meals interspersed with office parties, cookie exchanges, cocktail get-togethers and general frivolity that involves food and drink.
And now it's January, the universal time to shape up or spend the rest of the year sucking it in.
It's difficult to go cold turkey after all these months of pleasure. Transitioning from the endless buffet to three, low-cal squares a day is a cruel shock to the system. Can't we at least have a snack?
Sure, as long as it's very low in calories and has nutritional value. That cuts out half a Twinkie (75 calories) and 30 M&Ms (102 calories). We're searching for something complex, something to tide us over to dinner and a boneless, skinless chicken breast with steamed broccoli.
The following 25 snacks have 100 calories or less. Think about it: In just more than eight months, the candy corn will be back.
Janet K. Keeler, Times food and travel editor
Half an apple with 2 teaspoons of peanut butter
½ cup low-fat plain yogurt mixed with ½ cup blueberries. Add an artificial sweetener or stevia if you miss the sugar.
4 mini rice cakes with 2 tablespoons low-fat cottage cheese
½ cup cooked grits mixed with 1 teaspoon maple syrup
5 cups light microwave popcorn
1 small baked potato with ½ cup salsa and ¼ cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
Chocolate and Nut Butter Bites. To make, top 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate square with ½ teaspoon of almond, cashew or pistachio butter and then top with another chocolate square.
1 sliced medium kiwi and ½ cup diced cantaloupe with 1 tablespoon granola
2 ounces lean roast beef wrapped in lettuce leaves with a bit of spicy mustard
¼ avocado smashed with salsa and sliced jicama for dipping
20 frozen grapes
Half a finger of string cheese and half a medium pear
Hard-boiled egg with 3 saltine crackers
2 graham cracker squares with 1 teaspoon peanut butter
¼ cup tuna mixed with lemon juice and 1 teaspoon olive oil over a green salad with sliced cucumbers and green peppers
½ cup fat-free green goddess or ranch dressing with carrot and celery sticks
4 ounces hot cocoa mixed with water and 4 dried apricot halves
2 thick tomato slices with 1 ounce crumbled feta cheese and 1 teaspoon olive oil
15 small baked tortilla chips with salsa
4 large pretzel twists with two tablespoons fat-free cream cheese mixed with some dried Italian herbs
Half a mango with a schmear of goat cheese
½ cup cherries and ½ cup fat-free, sugar-free yogurt
2 tablespoons carob chips and 1 fresh apricot
1 cup strawberries topped with 2 tablespoons low-fat sour cream and 1 teaspoon brown sugar (or more of a brown sugar substitute)
½ red bell pepper dipped in 3 tablespoons hummus
Sources: webmd.com, Ladies' Home Journal, calorieking.com, goodhousekeeping.com