Snacking doesn’t have to be unhealthy, nor does it necessarily lead to weight gain. In fact, when done properly, snacking can be a nutritious way to keep those hunger cravings away.
The trick is to snack “smarter” by following these 7 simple tips:
A smart snack is one that fills you up and keeps you full between meals. And nothing will do that better than a protein filled snack. Protein fills you up faster than carbs or fat and it will leave you satisfied between meals. Lean sliced meats, boiled egg whites and string cheese are good examples protein filled snacks.
You never know what’s really in your food unless you flip the box over and read the nutrition label. The flashy marketing on the front of the box doesn’t always tell the whole story. Pay close attention to the serving size, as well. While a serving of chips might have only 100 calories, that serving may only be 5 chips!
When it comes to losing or even maintaining weight, calories are what count! So, it’s important that your snack not only fills you up, but does so with a minimal amount of calories. Remember, your having a snack, not a meal, so keep your snacks around 150 calories and be sure to add them to your total daily calorie counts (if your keeping track). Browse our low calorie snacks section for ideas.
Like protein, fiber helps fill you up and keep you feeling fuller longer, along with many other health benefits. Mixing a little fiber with protein in your snack will give those hunger pains the one, two punch!
Are You Really Hungry
Before you even reach for a snack ask yourself – Am I really hungry? Recognizing hunger is important when trying to control calories and stop mindless snacking. Next time you think you feel hungry try drinking a glass of water to see if that satisfies you. Are you craving something sweet even though you just ate? Think of eating vegetables or chicken instead. If you are truly hungry then the veggies and/or chicken will sound good.
Pass On Processed
When craving a snack, it’s easy to reach for a bag of chips out of your cupboard or hit up the vending machine. But, these types of highly processed snacks pass on little to no nutrition and just leave you feeling hungry a short while later.
So, pass on processed foods and opt for whole, natural snacks that are nutritious and filling. If you find it hard to snack on healthy foods at your workplace, check out these 15 healthy snack ideas for work to help get you through the day.
As stated before, calories are what matters when losing weight. And an easy way to control your caloric intake without meticulously counting each calorie through portion control. Portioning out snacks into smaller 100 calorie or so bags is a great way to stop yourself from overindulging and they make a convenient snack when your on-the-go.
5 Smart Snack Ideas
To give you an idea of what a healthy and filling snack looks like, here’s 5 smart snack ideas that are 100 calories or less:
- 3 oz low-fat cottage cheese and 3 wheat crackers
- 3 hard-boiled egg whites sprinkled with pepper and 1/2 cup skim milk
- Half apple with 2 tsp of peanut butter
- 2 oz extra lean ground beef with 1/2 cup spinach and a tablespoon salsa
- Mixed raw veggies with 1/4 cup fat-free ranch dressing
Check out these 100 calorie snacks for more delicious, yet low calorie snack ideas.