MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - December 6, 2010) -  (Family Features) Open houses and potlucks and shindigs -- oh my! From the beginning of the holiday season right through the New Year, it seems there are endless reasons to indulge in rich and decadent foods. While it all tastes good going down, it can bring some guilt along with the stretchy pants.

Smart snacking is one way to help combat the typical holiday binge cycle. Keeping healthy -- and yummy -- options on hand makes it easy to satisfy your hunger during the day and help keep you from overeating throughout the holiday season.

The Laughing Cow online community came up with a bunch of munchable snack ideas that help with holiday snackspiration throughout the holiday season. Here are five of their favorites:

  1. Mini Babybel (any flavor) and almonds
  2. Apple and peanut butter
  3. Non-fat Greek yogurt and berries
  4. Mini Babybel (any flavor) and an apple
  5. Baby carrots and hummus

From its wax wrapper that keeps it fresh and portion-controlled, to the smooth, mild taste, Mini Babybel cheeses are a delightfully satisfying snack option. With no artificial flavors or preservatives, they are also a good source of calcium and protein.

When you do head out to celebrate, here are some tips for how to keep a handle on your party appetite:

  • Snack before you go: Have a protein-rich snack, such as a handful of nuts, plain yogurt with fruit, or a few crackers with Mini Babybel. Protein helps keep you satisfied while giving you energy to dance just a little bit longer.
  • Veg out while you're there: Instead of heading straight for the dessert bar or loading up on the casserole, head for the veggie tray. Munching on healthy vegetables first gives your body some much needed nutrients and helps reduce the temptation to pig out on pastries.
  • Think small: If you're at a buffet, take the smallest plate available. People tend to eat whatever's on their plate -- so if you have a big plate, you'll eat more. Filling a small plate (or even a napkin) with healthier selections helps control your portions while letting you feel like you're having a feast.

Get more snackspiration -- and join the online community -- at www.thelaughingcow.com.