The new year generally brings the goal to lose weight. Is snacking allowed? Snacks are OK, as long as they are smart food choices. If you want an afternoon pick-me-up or after-dinner snack, have a piece of fruit or spread peanut butter or low-fat cream cheese on whole wheat toast. Don't forget to include snacks in your daily food count. For example, one tablespoon of peanut butter spread on a slice of whole wheat toast counts toward the grains group and the protein foods group.

Some ideas for healthy snacking include:

* Have an ounce of cheese with some whole-grain crackers, a container of low-fat or fat-free yogurt, or some low-fat popcorn.

* Put fruit instead of candy in the bowl on your coffee table.

* Keep a container of cleaned, raw vegetables in the fridge.

* If you want some chips or nuts, don't eat from the bag. Count out a serving, and put the bag away.

Do you have to measure or weigh everything you eat? Not really. Some people find it helps to measure things carefully at first, but once you get used to your new eating plan, strict measuring probably won't be necessary. But, what exactly is a serving? And is that different from a portion?

Here are some examples to help you understand how much you are eating:

* Two tablespoons cream cheese = golf ball

* Three ounces meat or poultry = deck of cards

* 1 to 1 1/2 ounces cheese = four dice

* Three ounces grilled/baked fish = checkbook

* One cup cooked vegetables, salad, baked potato = baseball

Here are some more examples:

* Half cup fruit, beans, rice, noodles or ice cream = cupcake wrapper, half of a baseball

* One teaspoon margarine or oil = tip of first finger

* One pancake or tortilla = compact disc or DVD

* Quarter cup raisins = large egg

* Three ounces meat or poultry = palm of hand

Thanks for help

Many thanks to the volunteers from Knights of Columbus of St. Dominic Catholic Church, Jamie Hitchcock and Duane Riley, who delivered Meals on Wheels last week.

Are you interested in helping with Meals on Wheels? Substitute drivers are always needed. If you would like to help, call Patti at 272-3620 or 260-6282.

Scheduled activities

Thursday, the TOPS Club will meet at 9 a.m., followed by art class at 10 a.m. Gentle exercises start at 11 a.m. The Ambassador Singers will practice at 1 p.m. Life Writing group meets at 1 p.m. A domino tournament will begin at 1 p.m. or you can join us for Skip-Bo at 1 p.m. Don't know how to play? Come anyway. It is easy, fun and good exercise for the brain. Yoga begins at 6:30 p.m.

Friday, the day begins with line dancing at 8:30 a.m. A nurse from St. Catherine Hospital will be here from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Bridge starts at 12:45 p.m. The monthly covered dish dinner for the Finney County Senior Citizens Association begins at 6 p.m.

Saturday, the pool room is open from 1 to 4 p.m.

Monday begins with walking at 8:30 a.m. Check with Hope for the location this week. The Humdingers Band practices at 12:30 p.m. Double pinochle begins at 12:30 p.m. Duplicate bridge starts at 7 p.m.

Tuesday begins with the Craft Shop meeting at 10 a.m. USDA commodities will be distributed beginning at 10 a.m. Come early to get your place number and your 2013 commodities card. Proof of residency in Finney County and proof of income are required. Gentle exercises begin at 11 a.m. Pitch starts at 12:30 p.m. Bridge begins at 1:15 p.m.

Jan. 9 has line dancing at 8:30 a.m. Pinochle begins at 12:40 p.m. Completely Unraveled meets at 1 p.m. The regular Wednesday night dance begins at 7:30 p.m. The recommended donation is $5. Bring finger food for the break.

Lunch menus

Lunch is served at noon.

Thursday: Chili, baked potato, carrots, cinnamon roll, fruit cocktail.

Friday: Grilled chicken breast, rice, Italian vegetables, wheat roll, brownies.

Monday: Swiss steak with tomatoes, baked potato, mixed vegetables, wheat roll, tropical fruit salad.

Tuesday: Mexican chicken casserole, corn, tossed salad, wheat roll, baked apple.

Jan. 9: Baked fish, creamed peas, carrots, wheat roll, strawberries and bananas.

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