Many people make this mistake of thinking that they can’t snack at all if they’re trying to eat healthily or lose weight. But it’s not only okay to snack – it’s beneficial.
Snacking keeps the cravings down. You don’t get over-hungry – so you don’t eat as much at mealtimes. If you snack a little during the day, you’ll consume fewer calories during meals: aim to eat a light meal or snack every three hours.
Of course, you need to eat the right things. Snacking on candy bars and chips won’t help you lose weight.
Here are some healthy snacks to try:
- Healthy Snacking: Nuts
Almonds make a great snack: your portion should be about 12 – 15 individual almonds. They’re a great source of calcium – which makes them especially good for those of us who don’t like milk. They’re also heart-healthy.
For the chocoholics (like me!) out there, combine almonds with about an ounce of good-quality dark chocolate – 70% or more cocoa. Avoid milk chocolate, as it usually has a lot of sugar. Dark chocolate has been scientifically proven to lower your blood pressure.
Nuts in general are good for snacking. Peanuts have gained a bad reputation – they’re actually healthy, as you don’t eat too many. Walnuts are a great choice as they contain Omega 3 fatty acids – particularly useful if you dislike fish.
- Healthy Snacking: Fruits
It’s important to include fruits in your diet: they’re high in fiber and vitamins. Bananas are often a good choice, unless you’re diabetic (they have a high sugar content, especially when very ripe). They contain a lot of potassium so they’re good for people with high blood pressure.
Many fruits are easy to grab and eat straight away – like grapes (freeze them if you like) or berries. The dark-colored berries like blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are all packed with anti-oxidants.
- Snacking While You’re Out
It can be tough to eat healthily when you’re on the move – traveling or shopping, for instance. You may need to plan ahead and take some healthy snacks with you.
Although popcorn makes a good snack while at home, the type you buy at the movies is often covered in butter, sugar or salt. Whole wheat pretzels are a better option.
Other good snacks on the move include fruit, and small containers of yogurt (look out for the sugar content, though).
Don’t just think about what you eat while out and about – think about what you’re drinking, too. “Liquid calories” can add up to a surprising amount. Your favorite latte could contain up to 500 calories, which is equal to a cheeseburger. While the occasional special coffee will not ruin your diet, having one every day may add on the pounds.
You can – and should – snack while you’re trying to lose weight. Sensible snacks are a vital part of a healthy diet.
Have you got a favorite healthy snack? Share your suggestions in the comments.
|Written on 12/15/2011 by Patricia Setzer. Patricia is the author of How to Eat Healthy for Life (Without Giving Up the Foods You Love), available in ebook form. You can click here to find out all about it here.||Photo Credit: havankevin|