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Healthy snacks to help you keep the weight off

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CLEVELAND, Ohio - Losing weight is never easy. Keeping it off is often harder, but the foods you include in your diet may actually promote weight loss.

Kristin Kirkpatrick is a registered dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic. She says they'll not only help you satisfy cravings, but will also keep you feeling full, longer -- like string cheese.

"String cheese is like a wonderful, wonderful, perfect diet food. The reason for this is number one, it doesn't have any carbohydrates. You're not going to get any blood sugar fluctuations. It's easy to transport, so it's a really quick snack that you can have. It's a lean protein, which satisfies us," said Kirkpatrick.

Apples or pears are also a welcome addition to any diet. Studies have shown women who eat three apples or three pears a day were more likely to lose weight. The fiber they provide makes you feel fuller, longer.

Ditching the salt for black pepper may help, too. A component in black pepper may block the formation of new fat cells. One hundred-percent natural peanut butter has something called "piceatannol" in it, which also fights fat cell formation.

Kirkpatrick says when you head to the kitchen for a snack, grab some popcorn is.

"Air-popped popcorn, or even cooking a little bit of popcorn on the stove with oil, for about 3 cups it's only about 100 calories. You get so much. You get that crunch, which a lot of people are looking for in their late-night snack. It fills you up with fiber and a new study has also shown the hull of popcorn actually has more antioxidants than certain fruits and vegetables," said Kirkpatrick.

Kirkpatrick says slowly digested foods, like lentils, also promote weight loss. They help increase a hormone that regulates the metabolism of fat and sugar.

Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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