While many experts recommend that you limit snacking when you are trying to lose weight, healthy snacking between meals can actually work in your favor. A healthy snack can help to stave off hunger and stabilize your blood sugar levels throughout the day.
Going long periods without eating can sometimes be counterproductive to weight loss, particularly if you are prone to nighttime binge eating. Feeling hungry all day can make it easier to give in to your nighttime cravings. Because of this, incorporating one or two healthy snacks into your daily routine can actually help you lose weight. However, in order to successfully snack, you will need to eliminate mindless eating and make good choices when selecting your afternoon pick me up.
The key to losing weight is to make sure that you are burning more calories than you are consuming, and this can be difficult to do if you are eating large meals or high calorie snack options. Balancing healthy snacking with a daily calorie deficit can be a great way to steadily lose weight without feeling hungry all the time. Keep these tips in mind when choosing healthy snacks that will help set you up for weight loss success.
Tip #1: Aim for 150 calorie snacks.
One of the biggest problems that people run into when snacking is that they chose snacks that are very high in calories, making it difficult for them to reach their weight loss goals and hit their target daily calorie intake. On the other hand, a snack that is extremely low calorie can also work against you. Eating a snack that is too small will be counterproductive – it will stimulate your appetite without actually filling you up. This can lead to unhealthy choices later in the day, something that you will definitely want to avoid if you are serious about losing weight.
Experts recommend incorporating two 150 calorie snacks into your daily routine: one in the morning and one in the afternoon. This can help keep you full between mealtimes without increasing your daily calorie intake too much. However, there is more to consider than just the number of calories in your snack.
Tip #2: Limit the number of carbs in your snacks.
It is important to balance protein, fat, and carbs when selecting your snacks. In general, no more than 50% of your snack calories should come from carbs. Of the three major macronutrients, carbs are the least likely to keep you full long term. This is one of the main reasons that high carb foods such as chips or pretzels are such a poor snack choices when eaten on their own. Instead, try to balance your protein, fat, and carb intake and make sure that your afternoon snack includes some of each.
Tip #3: Choose high fiber snack options.
Try to incorporate high fiber foods in your afternoon snack. When selecting the carb component, try to opt for whole grain, high fiber versions of your favorite bread or crackers. Another good option is to eat a whole piece of fruit as part of your mid morning pick me up.
In addition to keeping you full for longer, fiber can help to regulate your digestive system, keeping you from getting bloated while also energizing you for the rest of your day and cutting down on nighttime cravings.
Tip #4: Increase protein.
When choosing a snack, it can be easy to skip the protein. Many common snack foods such as chips and dip or an apple do not contain enough protein. Consider opting for cheese and crackers instead of chips and dip or adding a little bit of natural peanut butter to your apple slices.
In general, you should aim to consume around 10 grams of protein during snack time. This should correlate to about 20% of your calorie intake for each snack. This will help to keep your blood sugar levels stable all day, staving off the dreaded mid afternoon crash.
Tip #5: Do not be afraid of fat.
High fat foods often correlate with high calorie foods, but it is important to note that eating fat will not make you fat. In fact, it is a good idea to incorporate healthy fats in your diet. In general, you should try to ensure that a third of your snack calories come from fat. Eating healthy fats can make you feel satisfied and keep you feeling full for longer. Some of our favorite high fat snacks include a handful of nuts or half an avocado.
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