Health and Weigh Loss: Smarter Snacking
Article courtesy of www.weightloss.com.au
Snacking, or grazing as it is sometimes called,
is an important habit to get right if you are trying to lose
Rather than trying to avoid snacking altogether,
learning better snacking habits can actually help you achieve
your weight loss goals.
Snacking throughout the day has many benefits
when it comes to helping us lose weight, with the most important
- It helps us burn more calories per day
by keeping our blood sugar levels constant and our metabolism
ticking over steadily throughout the day
- It helps prevent us from overeating at
lunch and dinner and may even help us to eat smaller portions
during these meals
- It gives us the opportunity to include
a wider variety of healthy foods in our diet
If you currently snack throughout the day,
but snack on foods high in fat and sugar and low in essential
vitamins and nutrients to help you lose weight, try these
10 snacking tips:
1. Make sure you are actually hungry
Are you really hungry or are you bored, lonely or happy? Maybe
you just watched a TV ad for chocolate or fast food which
has got you thinking of eating. If you aren't really hungry,
skip the snack until you are.
Maybe you are thirsty rather than hungry.
Since it's easy to confuse the signals for hunger and thirst,
try drinking a refreshing glass of water or two before you
dig into a snack.
2. Keep your portion sizes small
Regardless of what snack you choose, make sure you prepare
or buy a portion which is just big enough to keep you going
until your next meal.
If you choose to eat snacks that are high
in fat, sugar, and calories, don't super-size, start with
a small serve first and get more later if you're still hungry
or go "halves" with a friend.
3. Check the facts about the food
you're about to eat
If you have the chance, check the nutritional information
contained on food labels. Look particularly at the total number
of calories that your snacks contain, along with levels of
sugar and saturated fat.
Your alternative to reading nutritional
labels is to have your waistline tell you that you're consuming
more calories than you thought you were.
4. Concentrate on eating while you
If you eat while driving, reading or watching TV you may end
up overeating and still not feel satisfied. Slowing down your
eating and really enjoy your snack; you'll eat less but enjoy
5. Eat enough protein
High protein foods, such as meat, dairy foods, nuts and soy
make great snacks and provide vital nutrients to help you
build and keep healthy muscles and bones (which are both critical
to maximizing weight loss).
Want more reasons? High protein foods will
also keep you feeling satisfied longer and therefore help
you eat less throughout the day.
6. Snack on nuts
Nuts can be a great snacking choice. A small handful of unsalted,
raw or dry roasted nuts can satisfy cravings and provide some
super nutrition (including vitamins, minerals, and protein).
7. Eat your veggies
Vegetables have been called nature's fast food. Very cheap
and easy to prepare, veggies makes an excellent snack. Keep
sliced veggies in your fridge and fill up a small bag with
carrot sticks or whatever takes your fancy whenever you head
out the door.
8. Put fruit high on your list
Fruit makes a fantastic snack because as well as being very
good for you, most fruits are relatively low in calories,
have no fat at all (avocados and olives aside) and are sweet
and full of flavour.
Fresh fruit is usually the best option nutritionally,
but don't forget that dried or canned fruit is still very
good for you and can help you enjoy your favourite fruit even
when it is out of season.
If you are regularly in an environment where
unhealthy snacks are in abundance and are always tempting
you, such as in an office, keep a couple of individual-serve
tubs of fruit handy in the fridge or in the top drawer of
9. Try a liquid snack
Healthy liquid snacks can be great in-between meal choices.
Low-fat milk smoothies made with yoghurt
and fruit or fruit cocktails mixed in a blender containing
your favourite fruits will keep you energized and feeling
full for hours.
If you make a little more than you need
for one snack, refrigerate what's left and drink it later
that day or the next.
Soft drinks don't make good snack choices
if you are trying to lose weight. Sure they may fill you up,
but they offer very little except excess sugar, calories and
10. Fill up on fibre
As well as being very good for you, fibre may help prevent
you from overeating. High-fibre foods take longer to chew
and digest, so you feel satisfied longer.
Legumes and grains provide the most fibre
per serving. Fruits and vegetables are also good sources,
but they usually contain less fibre per serving.
Good fibre snacks include pancakes topped
with warm fruit, oatmeal, yoghurt sprinkled with high-fibre
cereal, smoothies, fruit and pasta topped with steamed vegetables
Also remember to check labels for fibre
content of packaged goods.
Having more fibre in your diet requires
that you drink plenty of water. To keep fibre moving through
your digestive system, you need to drink water regularly.
Make sure you consume at least eight glasses each day, even
more when it is hot or you are active.
So there you have it, 10 suggestions to
make snacking work for you in losing weight and living a happier,
Remember that snacking has many benefits
including helping you to achieve your weight loss goals. Don't
avoid snacking, just avoid bad snacking choices and instead,
take advantage of adding healthier foods and more variety
into your daily diet by consuming nutrient rich, low fat and
low sugar snacking options.
More information about exercising,
dieting, weight loss and enjoying a healthy lifestyle,