Can snacks really help in losing weight? How can it help with weight loss when I am adding calories to my diet?. . . . . These are typical questions and responses you will hear when someone who wanted to lose weight is advised to eat snacks.
Yes, eating snacks may add calories to your diet, but contrary to what is commonly believed eating snacks will not interfere with your weight loss goals. In a recent study of weight watchers who only eat three meals a day and those who eat the same number of meals plus 2 snacks, the latter group was able to keep their weight loss or maintain their weight more successfully.
Well-planned snacks can complement your weight loss plans and help you maintain a healthy weight. To do this, you have to choose healthy foods when eating snack so you will not worry with the additional calories.
How can snacks benefit you?
No matter if you want to lose weight or not, eating snacks can benefit you in several ways.
Snacking helps alleviate hunger and keep you from overeating during meals. Intense hunger can lead you to eat too much food than what you actually need. It is difficult to be rational when you are starving. Nutritious snack can regulate your hunger and helps control your appetite for your next meal.
Eating between meals provide energy to the body which are needed to accomplish your daily tasks and activities. When you are hungry you may suffer from poor concentration resulting in non-productivity and sluggishness.
Snacking can boost metabolism due to the process of digesting the food you eat, converting them into nutrients and storing them. The metabolic boost you get during snacking may allow you to burn up to some calories.
What are the characteristics of a healthy snack?
- It boosts your blood sugar level and keeps it stable until the next meal.
- Fuel your brain and body cells to maintain energy for a longer time.
- Low glycemic index- These foods are digested slowly sustaining a gradual blood sugar increase which keeps you energized.
Foods with high glycemic index are not advisable for snacking because these are easily digested causing a rapid increase in blood sugar. These will give you an energy boost for only a short span of time. Consuming high glycemic index snacks prompt the release of excess insulin from your pancreas. You may experience premature hunger as soon as your bloodstream is cleared of sugar due to the extra insulin in your body.
What foods are considered healthy snack foods?
Healthy snack foods have high fiber content and nutritious such as:
- Oats, oat bran and peas have high soluble fiber content that stays in your tummy longer and make you more satisfied. Since eating high-fiber foods create a feeling of fullness, you can resist consuming more food than what you actually need.
- Nuts -Hazelnuts, almonds, macadamias, walnuts and pistachios are healthy foods that have low carbohydrates, high fiber content and have high monounsaturated fats (good fats). These are good sources of protein too.
- Low glycemic index foods- Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, vegetables and cheese will not cause a big elevation of sugar in your blood making you feel full for a longer span of time.
- Whole grain snacks- These provide bulk to your diet, creating a feeling of fullness with fewer calories, preventing you from overeating. Besides, these low Glycemic Index foods which are absorbed slowly into your bloodstream to help ward off hunger for a longer period of time. Whole grain foods include: brown rice, whole wheat, oatmeal, popcorn.
- Veggies- These are healthy high-fiber foods that make you full with less calories. Vegetables belong to the low energy density foods which make a person feel full while consuming lesser calories. Nibble on basic salad greens, carrots, green beans, snow pea pods, zucchini.
- Fruits – These fibrous foods have high water content and belong to low energy density foods. Fruits are good sources of natural sugars that provide energy. Besides they contain antioxidant properties. The best fruits to consume for snacks: grapes, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries; cherries, apples, pears, peaches, apricots, figs
Just like your regular meals, eat your snack slowly. According to studies it takes 20 minutes before your brain register the message that you are full. Make your snacks lighter than your meals; the number of calories has to be lesser than a meal, around 150-200 calories. Women have to eat a snack with only 150 or less calories. For men, they should not consume more than 200 calories.
Satisfy your hunger by consuming healthy snack that not only help with weight loss but also provide the essential nutrients your body needs. Eating more frequently but in smaller portion can help you curb your appetite and practice food portion control better. Regulate your blood glucose by eating nutritious and high-fiber foods, preserve good health and attain that desired weight loss.
Snacking does not have to add extra calories to your diet. On the contrary, healthy snacks can enhance your diet and improve weight loss efforts. So, select your snack foods wisely for a trimmer, healthier you!
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