Sometimes your regular breakfast, lunch, and dinner aren’t enough. When you’re on a diet and cutting down your portion size you can expect hunger to set in-between your meals.
Fortunately, you don’t have to feel guilty reaching for a snack. There are healthy snacking options you can choose that will satisfy your hunger while not ruining your diet.
Snacking Can Make or Break Your Diet
You can definitely make or break a diet by how you go about snacking. There are certain types of snacks you should be avoiding while other types of snacks help fill you up on fewer calories.
You shouldn’t be picking snacks that are high in sugar such as candy, sweets, or soda. They contain a lot of empty calories that do not fill you up. Snacks high in sugar can also spike your insulin levels which promotes overeating later in the day.
You should be watching the amount of calories you’re eating while snacking. You don’t want to be consuming as many calories as a meal while snacking. Instead, you want to stick with food that has lower calories that will fill you up.
Some healthy snacking foods are fruits and vegetables as they are low in fat and calories while being high in fiber. High fiber foods help curb your appetite and satisfy hunger on fewer calories. Another great option is Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is relatively low in fat and calories while being high in protein. Opting for high protein snacks is your best option as your body has to expend more energy to digest protein.
Snacking Doesn’t Have to be Bad
You don’t need to feel guilty while snacking. I personally snack a lot throughout the day. When I went on a diet to get in better shape I simply started to snack smarter and choose healthy snacking options instead of opting for unhealthy options like potato chips.
Some of my favorite snacks to munch on in-between meals are Greek yogurt, meat jerky, a handful of almonds, or a protein shake. All of these snacks are excellent to help hold you over until your next meal.
I do recommend if you do try to eat nuts as a snack to watch how many you eat because they are nutrient dense foods. Our bodies can take up to 20 minutes to tell us we are no longer hungry. That’s a lot of time to eat unnecessary calories and you’re more prone to do that with nutrient dense foods if you’re not careful. That’s why I recommend about a handful of them.
Avoid Those Low Calorie, 100 Calorie, or Light Options
I am talking about this because I see way too many people falling into this marketing trap. You see many marketing words or titles in food nowadays as people are becoming more health conscious. However, food companies are taking advantage of consumers like you and I when making so called “lighter” or “lower calorie” products.
These products tend to cut corners that do consumers more harm than good.
Don’t believe me?
Next time you’re at the grocery store I challenge you to compare a snack you frequent that has a lower calorie variety and look at the ingredient list between the two. You’ll notice something bizarre.
In the lower calorie options, you’ll see lots of ingredients you cannot pronounce and most of that is chemicals or artificial ingredients such as artificial flavors, sweeteners, and colors. The food companies put these in the lower calorie options because they substitute artificial ingredients in lieu of more natural ingredients that have calories. These artificial ingredients are highly processed and can cause many side effects you may be unaware of.
My rule of thumb for healthy snacking is to stick with natural whole foods.
Change Up Your Eating Schedule
You might want to consider changing up your eating schedule if you find yourself having to snack a lot between meals. I recommend you opt for 4 – 6 smaller meals throughout the day if you’re constantly fighting hunger pains throughout the day on 3 meals.
These smaller meals can be healthy snacks or lower portioned meals. Many dietitians and nutritionists recommend this method to people trying to cut calories to lose weight. This is because you tend to keep your digestive system more occupied throughout the day which leaves less time for hunger to creep in.
By snacking smart you can not only keep hunger at bay without ruining your diet, but you actually improve your diet. By keeping hunger at bay more throughout the day without increasing your daily calories through healthy snacking and lower portioning of your meals; you can stay more motivated to continue your diet.
Let’s face it, which diet are you more likely to stick with? The diet that has you left hungry most of the day or the diet that can make you feel less hungry on the same amount of calories?
It’s a no brainer…
Which is why you should be embracing healthy snacking as part of your diet plan and turn your regular meals into lower portioned meals to balance your calorie intake on a daily basis.
What’s your favorite healthy snacking option?