Weight Loss Wednesday: Smart Snacking
As a chubby teen trying to lose weight, my mother advised me to cut out snacks between meals to limit my calories. Due to the fact that I was 15 and an athlete, practicing 5 or 6 times per week, it worked and I slimmed down in no time flat. As a result, I treated snacks as something to be avoided at all costs for years. It wasn’t until years later that I learned I had gotten the wrong idea.
While overconsumption of high calorie snacks can definitely lead to weight gain, consuming healthy, balanced mini meals or “snacks” every 3-4 hours can do the opposite, aiding in weight management or even loss by helping maintain blood sugar levels, which lessens feelings of extreme hunger and makes you less likely to overeat when you do eat. In addition, smart snacking may also boost your metabolism and give you more energy.
Here’s how can you build smart snacking into your life:
· Try to eat something every 3-4 hours that you are awake, beginning with breakfast. *NOTE: be careful with bedtime snacking. Only eat a bedtime snack if you know that you still have some calories in the bank (like you ran a half marathon or did multiple, strenuous workouts in the same day).
· Eliminate unhealthy foods from your kitchen or at least place them out of direct sight- the key word here is smart snacking. Instead, place healthy food items in your field of vision- fruit bowl on the table or visible fruits/ veggies in the fridge.
· Plan your days out: the better prepared you are, the less likely you will be to make a poor choice based on extreme hunger and lack of healthy choices
· Choose snack combinations that contain a high-fiber carbohydrate as well as a protein and/or fat, such as apples and low fat cheese or fresh veggie sticks and hummus. Hard-boiled eggs also make excellent snacks.
· Control portions: be careful not to let your snacks get too big. Aim for 200-300 kcal per snack.
· Caught without a good option? If you’re caught at the vending machine or a gas station, look for whole grain, low sodium and low sugar options. Most vending machines now carry at least one of these.
MORE SNACK IDEAS:
· 1 medium apple + 2 Tbsp. almond butter
· 1 oz. almonds and ¼ C. dried fruit
· 1 C. baby carrots + ½ C. black bean hummus
· ½ C. Greek yogurt + 1C. Fresh berries