Snack?! But What About Your Diet?
Snacking doesn’t have to be a bad word when you’re trying to lose weight
Snacking sometimes gets a bad wrap when it comes to a healthy lifestyle. Many people assume that eating a snack means mindlessly munching on chips or cookies, or perhaps the idea of snacking, for some, is someone plopped down in front of a TV with a giant bowl of ice cream. Well, these exaggerated examples of snacking would definitely derail any healthy eating plan; however, all snacks are not created equal, and there’s a better way to satisfy a case of the munchies.
This article focuses on snacking when it comes to trying to lose weight. Snacking for weight maintenance is a different ballgame. First, take a moment to think about why it is that you snack. If you find yourself reaching for that candy bar, stop and ask yourself a few questions first:
- Are you genuinely hungry at that moment? If you answered yes, then consider what time you will be eating your next meal. If lunch is, for example, just 20 minutes away, then you have your answer as to why you’re hungry. Wait it out, or bump lunch up about ten minutes. If your next meal is an hour or more away, then sometimes a snack can be the best option to avoid over-eating, but a candy bar is not the way to go. Have some healthy, portion-controlled snacks at the ready – like a small piece of fruit, a handful of raw veggies, or a few almonds. The key is just enough to keep you from going on a crazy binge session.
If you are being especially active, it’s important to remember that you will need extra calories on those days to hit your daily calorie goal. For example, if your goal is 1,000 calories and your meals for the day will allow you to hit that mark, but you do an intense workout that burns 300 calories, you would be coming in short. This could be another reason why you may find yourself feeling hungry, so in these instances have healthy snacks available so you reach for them first instead of the not-so-good options.
- Are you really hungry, or just thirsty? Before you grab for that healthy alternative though, take another moment; maybe you aren’t actually hungry. First, drink a cup of water. It could be that you’re just thirsty and your brain is confusing it with hunger. Plus, your stomach signals it’s full when it reaches a certain volume, not a certain calorie count; so filling it up with a little bit of water might be just enough to satisfy those grumbles until mealtime.
- Are you bored? If you answer no to being hungry and thirsty, then perhaps you’re just bored. Many people eat to relieve stress, boredom, and well, simply out of habit. If you keep making trips to the pantry but know you aren’t actually hungry, then it’s time to distract yourself! Go for a quick walk, work on a puzzle, read a couple of pages of a book, heck, do some laundry; the point is to engage in any activity that doesn’t involve eating to get your brain off of the food track.
- Does it just look good? Sometimes, we just eat to eat because, wow, that piece of cake looks delicious. If you know that you are not the kind of person that can resist temptation, then don’t even bring it into your house. If the employee lounge at work is always overflowing with baked goods and leftovers, then avoid it like the plague. Don’t make things harder than they need to be; set yourself up for success. The more you avoid temptation, the easier it gets.
For those times you do legitimately need to snack, have a healthy arsenal of foods at the ready so there’s no need to fret about grabbing the wrong kinds of food. This also keeps things convenient, which is always key to sticking with any diet or a new routine. Here are just a few ideas for snacks, that range from 50 to 150 calories each:
- A mandarin orange
- A small apple with a tablespoon of low-sodium peanut butter
- A cup of raw veggies
- A half-cup of almonds
- A half-cup of Greek yogurt
- A serving of multi-grain crackers and a slice of low-fat cheese
- A cup of whole strawberries
- A small salad of mixed greens with one ounce of chia seeds
When you are trying to lose weight, it is normal to occasionally feel a little hungry in between meals. However, feeling hungry and being so hungry that you feel light-headed or sick is never okay. It’s important that you listen to your body and understand when it’s telling you it seriously needs some fuel. It’s in these moments when snacking is a must, just make sure you’re snacking smart.
If you’re trying to lose weight with your Sensible Meals plan, then snacking isn’t always recommended in the beginning, but it’s not completely out of the question. The overall thing to remember is your daily calorie goal for the end-result that you want to achieve. Plus, once you hit that mark, you can begin to incorporate healthy snack options into your daily diet as you maintain your new healthy weight. Check out the rest of our blog for more valuable resources and information that can help you get and stay healthy!