Kale ChipsHealthy Lifestyle Tip: Snacks: How they fit into a weight-loss plan. Courtesy of www.mayoclinic.com

Your stomach is growling, but lunch is hours away. You could indulge yourself with a snack, but you think it’s best to avoid treats altogether and wait for lunch. Not so, if weight loss is your goal. In fact, mini meals several times a day can help manage hunger and reduce binging. Eating a healthy snack may stop you from taking second or third helpings at your next meal, dramatically cutting the calories you consume. Healthy meals often lose out to busy schedules. A healthy grab-and-go snack could be the difference between some nourishment and none at all.

Well-planned, healthy snacks can complement your weight-loss plan. Select foods that satisfy your hunger, supply your body with energy, and provide important nutrients. Here are some of your best snack options:

Whole grains. Whole-grain snacks are rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates which give you energy with staying power. Avoid the “whites” (breads, pastas, rice, tortillas, bagels, etc.) Look at the labels. Even when it says “whole grain” if the first ingredient is “enriched flour”, consumer beware.

Fruits and vegetables. Eating fruits and vegetables provide a feeling of fullness with no fat and only a small number of calories. They also provide vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients.

Nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds provide protein, so you will feel fuller longer. They can be high in fat, but it’s mostly monounsaturated, a healthy kind of fat. Nuts and seeds are high in calories, however, so don’t eat them in large quantities.

Organic dairy products. Cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products are good sources of calcium and protein, plus many other vitamins and minerals. Avoid the added sugar in yogurt products. Sweeten with organic blueberries or cut up fruit instead. Avoid the “fat-free” varieties because they tend to have more chemicals and sugar.

Although snacks can contribute to a healthy diet, they can also be a source of excess calories if you aren’t careful. For example, a small handful of almonds (about 14 nuts) contains 100 calories. In a cup of almonds the calorie count jumps to over 800 calories. The key to incorporating snacks into your weight-loss plan is to plan them with variety, moderation, and balance in mind.

Need some ideas Prepare your own healthy low-calorie snacks using these suggestions:

Half an apple with 2 teaspoons of peanut butter
1/2 cup frozen orange juice with yogurt and a teaspoon of vanilla, eaten as sorbet
An orange and a few dry-roasted nuts
10 cashew nuts
10 almonds
2 ounces of lean meat
3 ounces of organic cottage cheese and kale chips
Hummus with mixed raw vegetables
1 small baked potato with cup of salsa and 1 tablespoons of organic sour cream
4 to 6 ounces of Greek yogurt
1 stick of string cheese and a sliced Fuji apple

With love and encouragement,

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Rosie Bank

 

Board Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach

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