If you're sacrificing snacks to cut calories, stop!
To lose weight, you need snacks. Don’t believe me…? Let me explain how healthy snacking can aid weight loss by banishing hunger pangs and keeping your fat burning metabolism revved up all day!
Healthy snacks keep hunger at bay
Ever sat down for a meal feeling absolutely ravenous? Of course you have, so have I! Did you find that you ate much faster and at the end of the meal you felt bloated and guilty for over eating? By snacking between meals, you keep hunger pangs at bay so that come mealtime, you take your time to eat so that your brain registers when you’ve had enough; you only consume what you really need.
Healthy snacks allow you to make the right food choices
So this probably also rings true for most people…you are starving and it’s lunchtime but you can’t wait 10 minutes to cook a healthy balanced meal. Instead, you reach for the convenient meal simply to satisfy that burning hunger. Bad choices! Healthy snacking keeps hunger at bay so that you can make the best choices come mealtime and select a balanced, nutritious meal.
Healthy snacks increase your resting metabolic rate
Did you know that the pure act of eating and digesting increases your resting metabolic rate (the number of calories your body burns just to support basic functions like thinking, breathing, and talking)? Research shows that snacking leads to more weight loss. In one study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers had men eat 17 small snacks a day without decreasing their calories, and found that in 2 weeks the men had lower cholesterol and insulin levels, decreasing their risks not only of weight gain but of heart disease and metabolic diseases like diabetes, too. Tick, double tick!
Healthy snacks banish feelings of deprivation
Often when we start a diet we deprive ourselves of treats. It’s one of the most common reasons for the failure of a weight loss plan. It’s important that when you start a weight loss programme you feel like your diet is anything BUT deprived. Healthy snacks should provide you with all the good-for-you nutrients you need whilst tricking your body (and brain) into feeling like it’s a really luxurious treat!
So, what is Healthy Snacking Exactly?
Snacking doesn't mean slowly working your way through a bag of crisps. But even reaching for so-called "health" bars, nuts, and fruit still leaves you low on certain good-for-you foods like vegetables and lean protein. Make sure your food intake, including snacks, provide you with the balance of nutrients you really need.
Here are some tips to get you on the right track:
Increase Meal Frequency
It’s a fact…people who eat more than three times a day tend to weigh less. While it's true that eating more often is the key to preventing hunger, if you don't cut the total number of calories you eat each day, you won't shed the pounds. So you still need to bear in mind that energy expenditure = calories in minus calories out. If you are following a weight loss plan that has you eating more frequent meals, it’s important that you understand what a small meal is and avoid eating full meals instead of mini meals. The danger with this kind of weight loss plan is that you may end up overeating because you are increasing your calorie intake at each “mini meal”.
A better strategy might be to restrict your main meals to 400-500 calories every 3-5 hours and have a (maximum) 200 calorie snack like nuts or fruit mid morning and mid afternoon. Oh, and don’t forget to exercise!
Try to listen to your body and only eat when you feel slightly hungry and stop when you feel just slightly full. It’s important to remember that it takes about 20 minutes for your body to realise that it’s had enough to eat. So take your time eating; don’t rush!
Eating snacks with the right ratio of nutrientsand calories will keep you energized and help you lose weight. Try to include protein rich snacks (e.g. almonds) that help build lean muscle mass and boost metabolism, as well as snacks rich in fibre to aid digestion and curb cravings for fats and sugars.
Chewswize sells a “Skinny” subscription box (each snack is under 150 calories).