Colorado Springs, Colorado (NAPSI) - If you’re like many Americans, you enjoy a snack two or three times a day. Snacks are a great way to improve your diet, if they’re balanced.

Balanced snacks can be just as important as balanced meals. A balanced snack includes foods that contain protein in addition to carbohydrates and a little fat. The protein slows down the absorption of the carbohydrates, keeping you fuller longer and helping your blood sugar to stay constant. Include yogurt, cheese, peanut butter and other protein foods when you snack.

Fortunately, there are many easy ways to bake up good-tasting, more healthful snacks to have on hand. Try these tips from Clabber Girl:

• Add whole grains-such as oats, flax and white whole wheat flour-to favorite treats to get more fiber in your diet.

• Add dried fruit to quick breads, pancakes and muffins; stir mashed sweet potato, grated zucchini or banana into corn bread, waffles and cakes for added vitamins and minerals.

• To reduce sodium in your baked goods, you can use Rumford Reduced Sodium Baking Powder.

• Try this recipe for a terrific healthful snack.

Spring BerryOatcakes
Makes about 2 dozen

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup bran

½ cup almonds

1 tablespoon Clabber Girl Baking Powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

⅓ cup butter or palm shortening

⅓ cup vegetable oil

1 cup applesauce

¾ cup agave syrup or honey

2 eggs

1 cup milk, soy milk or buttermilk

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1 tablespoon orange zest

1 cup blueberries

1 cup dried cranberries, raisins or dates

Extra oats and blueberries for garnish

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line baking sheets with parchment or use nonstick spray for easier cleanup. Stir together oats, flour, bran, almonds, Clabber Girl Baking Powder, baking soda and salt. Using your hands or two forks, cut in butter, oil and applesauce, till the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a separate bowl, whisk agave or honey, eggs, milk and the 2 zests. Combine dry ingredients with wet ingredients and the berries. Stir with a wooden spoon until the dough pulls together. The dough will thicken as it sits for a few minutes and the liquids are absorbed. Scoop dough by the ⅓ cupful onto prepared baking sheets. Press a sprinkling of oats and blueberries over the top for a rustic scone look. Bake about 22 minutes or until just firm in the center. Cool on a rack. Store frozen and reheat just before eating.

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