It's Snack Time!
Your stomach is growling, but lunch is hours away. You could indulge yourself with a snack, but you think it's best to grit your teeth and wait for lunch. Not so, if weight loss is your goal.
Although you may feel guilty about snacking, snacks aren't necessarily bad. In fact, well-planned weight-loss diets, allow for snacks to help manage hunger and reduce bingeing. Eating a healthy snack of a piece of fruit or some raw veggies can tame your hunger without ruining your appetite for your next meal.
The key to incorporating snacks into your weight-loss plan is to keep moderation and balance in mind.
Choose healthy snacks. Select foods that satisfy your hunger, supply your body with energy and provide important nutrients. Opt for 2-3 snacks of 100 calories or less to stay within your daily calorie goal. You can eat more of foods with low energy density, such as carrots, grapes and air-popped popcorn, for your 100 calories. Choose snacks from these food groups:
- Fruits and vegetables.
Eating fruits and vegetables provides a feeling of fullness with
little to no fat and only a small number of calories. Fruits and
vegetables also provide vitamins, minerals, fiber and other
- Whole grains.
Whole-grain snacks are rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates,
which give you energy with staying power. Look for items such as
low-fat whole-grain crackers, whole-grain pretzels and whole-grain
- Nuts and seeds.
Nuts and seeds provide protein, so you will feel fuller longer. They
can be high in fat, but it's mostly monounsaturated, a healthy kind
of fat. Nuts and seeds are high in calories, however, so don't eat
them in large quantities.
- Low-fat dairy products. Cheese, yogurt and
other dairy products are good sources of calcium and protein, plus
many other vitamins and minerals. Choose the low-fat versions. Some
yogurts have extra added sugar, so look for low-calorie or "light"
So what are some smart choices? Here are several suggestions for 100-calorie snacks:
- 1 cup sliced bananas and fresh
- 2 cups of carrots
- 3 1/2 cups air-popped popcorn
- 20 raw almonds
- 1/4 c dried fruit
- 1 medium apple, mandarin, or banana
- 1 snack-size bag of mini carrots
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 2 domino-sized slices of low-fat
Colby or cheddar cheese
- 1 fat-free chocolate pudding cup
So heed your hunger pangs, but forget the guilt. Switch out bad food choices for good ones - and before you know it - your 3 hourly pilgrimage to the snack cupboard or vending machine will be a thing of the past. With planning and a little preparation, you can have healthy foods on hand so that you're ready when temptation strikes.
Check out some of my favorite snack and dessert recipes from the links above!
To Your Health,
H -- CAS