When you’re following a weight loss plan, snacking might be viewed negatively. You worry that eating between meals will lead to consuming more calories than necessary for the day, and undermine your whole strategy. But when done correctly, snacking is just fine. In fact, it can even be helpful! Just follow these eight tips to smarter snacking.
Check yourself. Take the time to observe your feelings. Are you actually hungry, or bored, upset, stressed, or something else? Only snack when you’re truly hungry.
Choose a satisfying snack. Your weight loss plan likely involves many healthy alternatives to unhealthy foods. That way, you can replace your old habits (and favorite dishes) with new, lower calorie and healthier versions. However, if your snack doesn’t actually satisfy you, then you might be tempted to reach for more of it – or something else. So when a craving strikes, make sure you’re choosing a snack that will actually satisfy you. Carrot sticks likely won’t do the trick if you’re craving ice cream, but a cup of yogurt probably will.
Plan ahead. Plan your snacks, so that hunger doesn’t hit you unprepared. That’s when you’re most likely to head to the vending machine. Instead, carry healthy options with you or stock the mini fridge in your office.
Pair protein with fiber. Avoid the typical empty carbs, and pair a protein source with fiber. Both of these nutrients help you feel full until your next meal time.
Avoid screens. If you eat while playing a game on your tablet or scrolling Instagram on your phone, you will likely miss satiety and fullness cues from your brain. This leads to overeating. So just avoid screen time, and focus on enjoying each bite.
Hydrate. As with meals, drinking a glass of water with snacks can help you feel full (and meet your hydration needs for the day).
Keep fruit handy. When we’re busy, it’s tempting to reach for packaged foods that are less healthy. But peeling a banana is no more difficult than opening a bag of chips! If you have kids, keeping the fruit bowl full will encourage healthy habits for them, too.
Practice saying no. If your coworkers or friends tend to encourage unhealthy snacking, practice what you’ll say ahead of time. This strategy works well for peer pressure of all types, by the way.
These tips can help you choose your snacks more wisely. But if you need more help putting together your weight loss plan, call us to schedule an appointment.