Snacks don’t need to have a ‘bad rap!’
In recent years, mindless snacking has been linked to gaining weight, but if you choose ‘smart snacks,” it can do the complete opposite! In fact, if you choose wisely and carefully, snacks can help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
So what should you eat when you’re trying to lose weight, and which healthy snacks are beneficial for weight loss? In our new blog, NJ Diet shares our most helpful ideas and tips on snacking “smart” and choosing foods that will easily fit into you daily diet plan!
Getting Healthier By “Smart Snacking”
Experts say that eating more frequently is often better, with healthy snacks playing a part of a healthy daily diet.
Whether you have a lot of weight to lose or just a little, scheduling snacks is helpful when hunger strikes. Strategic snacking that is included within your daily calorie counting helps control hunger and keeps you on track with your weight-loss goals.
Here’s how healthy snacks aid your weight loss and improve your overall health!
Control Hunger With Healthy Snacks
Healthy, well-balanced snacks can help keep hunger in check, which may keep you from overeating at your next meal. Snacks may help reduce the risk of obesity by promoting satiety and appetite control, and potentially prevent overeating.
Nutrient- Rich Snacks
The majority of Americans do not meet the recommended daily intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and dairy, so by incorporating healthy snacks into your daily diet you can increase consumption of these healthy foods!
Smart Snacking May Aid in Weight Loss
Eating healthy snacks can help prevent you from becoming overly hungry — as being ravenous may increase your risk of overeating unhealthy foods.
Snacking Helps Reduce Other Health Risks
Eating two or three snacks throughout the day can help prevent “sugar crashes,” especially if those snacks contain a balance of protein, fiber, carbohydrates and fat. Similarly, eating more frequently — which includes snacks — seems to improve risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Snacks As Energy Boosters
If you often deal with the typical mid-afternoon slump, having a healthy snack can give you the energy you need. They can help you recover more quickly after a workout.
In fact, research has found that eating a healthy snack of protein and carbohydrates within 15 to 30 minutes of exercising can help replace your energy stores and assist with muscle recovery.
“Smart Snacking” Tips
Here are many options for making snacks a satisfying and nutritionally smart part of counting calories; for variety, try a different idea each day:
- Prepare Snacks For When You’re On The Run — Prepare healthy 100-calorie snacks to keep in your car or at work, because if you get hungry it’s good to have something healthy available.
- Focus On Protein-Rich Snacks — It is helpful is to include a little bit of protein into your healthy snacks. The protein in Cheese and crackers, string cheese, apple and peanut butter will take some of the edge off the hunger pains.
- Incorporate Snacks That Contain Fiber — High-fiber snack bars or other fiber-dense snacks help make you feel fuller, faster!
Planning ahead is a big part of healthy snacking, here are simple tips to follow!
- Stock your refrigerator with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, to keep from getting bored!
- Keep a supply of freeze dried or canned fruits or veggies at work if you don’t have access to a refrigerator
- Eliminated unhealthy snacks — such as cookies, candy or chips — from your house.
- Experiment with different flavors, herbs or spices to make snacking more interesting and appetizing.
- Prepare snacks the night before for the next day; pack the snack in a ziploc bag or container so that it’s ready to go in the morning.
Healthy Snack Ideas
When in doubt, vegetables and fruit (in moderation) are always a good choice. Also depending on what you are craving, items such as the following can be easily incorporated into your daily food intake:
- low-calorie yogurt or frozen yogurt
- 6-10 almonds and a ½ cup of berries
- one small square of dark chocolate
- 1 small apple with 1 teaspoon natural nut butter
- a handful of whole wheat pretzels
- 1 cup of baby carrots with 2 tablespoons of bean dip
- sugar-free pudding with a graham cracker to dip
- ½ cup edamame and kale chips
- 1 hard-boiled egg and celery sticks
- hummus and pita bread or veggies to dip
- 1/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese with tomatoes
- Low-fat string cheese and red bell pepper
- 6 oz. of nonfat plain Greek yogurt with berries or chia seeds
- cup of vegetable or chicken soup
- air-popped popcorn
- steel-cut oatmeal
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As you can see, snacks can be a satisfying part of any diet. Like all other aspects of calorie counting, snacks just need to be carefully thought out and factored into your overall plan.
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