Is it hard for you to STOP snacking? Do you feel guilty about snacking? Well there is good news (and maybe some bad)! Snacking is essential. Low blood sugar, or uneven blood sugar levels from diabetes, make snacking a no brainer for some people. However, people looking to lose weight, snacking seems like an enemy.
Are snacks wasted calories?
NO! Snacks are essential to weight loss, as well as weight maintenance. Not only are they essential to that, they are essential to blood sugar levels, and optimal metabolism.
It’s true – if your body thinks it’s starving it SLOWS DOWN calorie burn. It’s trying to conserve your calories (no matter how thin or large you are). It’s the nature and function of our bodies. Snacking makes your body remember you are not starving and you are eating right. It reminds your body to burn baby burn!
Can snacks be hollow calories?
YOU BET! Choosing snacks for their nutritional value is essential. If you choose a bag of chips, over a palm full of almonds with some dried fruit, you filled up on unwanted calories. Snacks need to nourish your body – which means the types of calories going in are essential.
How to keep snacking on track
Timing of snacks is important, along with the serving size and type of snack. Here are 5 tips:
- Snacks should be 2-3 hours after a meal. (Morning and afternoon). If you eat very early for dinner you may need a small snack if you also then go to bed very late. Eating late at night is not recommended as our metabolism naturally slows before, during bedtime.
- Snacks should be whole foods – these are foods that are not processed or bagged or packaged. A handful of almonds with dried fruit, a banana, some strawberries or blueberries, some vegetables and a serving of hummus or a light ranch dip (see the recipe below). Yogurt is also a great snack. One serving only with a sprinkle of granola or a sprinkle of fruit.
- Pay attention to your serving size of your snack. If you have chosen a more packaged item (i.e. crackers to go with your hummus) be aware of the serving size and stick to only one serving of the crackers (see the box label to help you know what that is). Tip: Substitutes for crackers can be fresh raw veggies, like celery, cucumbers, or carrots. You can eat many many more veggies than crackers!
- If you are choosing yogurt, or hummus or a different dairy type of product, pay attention to your serving size again (see package for details). Your snack serving should be only one for those items.
- Check out the nutritional value of the snack. If you are eating raw vegetables or fruits, you know what you are eating. If you are eating crackers, yogurt or another dairy items. It’s important to read the ingredients. Choosing an organic product, with low to no fat (for animal products) is important. Animal fats in too large amounts can be detrimental to your health over the long run. Choosing a cracker with less ingredients is best if you must have crackers, or bread products. You want something that you understand every ingredient and ideally has less than five ingredients listed.
Just like it’s important not to skip breakfast, it’s important not to skip your snack. Your metabolism and body will thank you for keeping it fully charged.
Post your favorite snack with us!
Feeling like your body is not what you want? Need to change something but don’t even know where to start? We have our 7 Day Healthy Habits Challenge (FREE!) starting Sept. 18! Check it out here.
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Sour Cream Ranch Dip
- 1 c Light Sour Cream or a Nonfat Greek Yogurt plain
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tbsp parsley
- 1 tsp basil
- 1/2 tsp dill weed
- 1/2-3/4 tsp of salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Mix in a dish and refrigerate or serve right away. Keeps for a few days in the fridge.