Snacking doesn’t have to be the enemy when it comes to weight loss and health goals.
In fact, if done correctly, healthy snacking is one of the best things you can do for your body to keep it energized and nourished throughout the day while helping you overeat and consume too many calories.
But what can you do to make snacking your ally rather than your enemy? We take a look at smart and healthy snacking that can ensure your snacking is good for your efforts to lose weight.
Know the difference between snacking and grazing.
Take a Super Bowl party (or any party really) for example. Snacks are out and accessible for hours at a time. A plethora of salty, sweet, processed goodness there for your taking.
In situations like this, you graze. You go back with your plate from time to time, long after you’re full, simply because those Oreos looks delicious or the queso dip was a party in your mouth.
A snack, when done right, is a well-timed little meal that keeps your body energized between your main meals.
A snack should be just as healthy as your larger meals, and should serve the same purpose: provide your body with sufficient and meaningful nutrition to support healthy function.
Know your body
If you know your stomach gets a little grumbly around 10:30, take a hint and be prepared to feed it! Different people require different things; maybe you have low blood sugar or iron deficiency.
Perhaps your workout routine has you torching calories like never before and you know hunger will hit long before your lunch.
Be prepared and adjust your approach to eating as needed. This is easy to do at home, when you can access your pantry or fridge any time. On the go or at work, keep a protein bar or some granola in your bag or car. In your office, keep yogurt or fruit in the break room refrigerator.
Make it count!
Eat protein-packed foods paired with good carbs. Greek yogurt and strawberries, mixed nuts, peanut butter and whole grain crackers. The list goes on!
When you make your snacks count nutritionally, you can fill gaps where your body needs certain nutrients. Afraid you’re not getting enough calcium? Fiber? Vitamin C? Make up for it at snack time!
Snacking Doesn’t Have To Be Fancy (or Expensive)
Your snack foods can be as simple or as involved as you want it. Knowing how to snack well might seem complicated when you begin your health journey.
As you’re learning what works for you, keep the wallet happy and stress levels low by factoring snacks into your weekly grocery shopping.
Make it easy on yourself. Carrots, cucumbers, and apples make great finger food and pair well with hummus or peanut butter. Pre-prep snacks before your busy week gets started and you’ll be less likely to head for the vending machine when your stomach starts to grumble.
Have Fun With It
As you become accustomed to your new, healthy habits and routines and figure out what works for you, don’t be afraid to get adventurous.
If you find the time to make garlic roasted kale chips or experiment with quinoa, do it. The fun part about snacking is there are healthy ways to keep your taste buds engaged and you’ll probably enjoy those foods more than you think.
If you tend to graze while watching TV or working on a project, cut it out.
Your brain does enough multi-tasking during your busy day. When you need a snack, focus on just eating and enjoying your snack, then get back to it.
This will keep you from mindlessly over-eating, especially when you’re at home.
A List of Smart, Healthy Snacks
Here’s a list of our favorite snacks, all under 200 calories:
• 1 cup sliced strawberries and 1 cup vanilla Greek Yogurt (200 calories)
• 1 Apple with 1 tbsp. almond butter (180 calories)
• 1 serving whole wheat crackers and 1 hard boiled egg (190 calories)
• 1 ounce mixed nuts (170 calories)
• 1 cup cucumber slices and 1 ounce of Gouda cheese (115 calories)
• 1 cup snap peas, ½ cup baby carrots, and 2 tbsp. fat-free ranch (100 calories)
• ½ cup of fat free cottage cheese with 1 cup berries (160 calories)
• ½ grapefruit and a hard-boiled egg (130 calories)
• Banana and peanut butter (190 calories)
See also Healthy Snacks For Weight Loss