No amount of exercise can change your figure or help you maintain a lean body if you eat a consistently unhealthy diet. You simply cannot out train a bad diet.
That is why you should take a hard look at what you’re eating. Your snacks are no exception. The good news is that choosing healthy snacks in not a rocket science.
Snacking can often be the downfall of a diet. Sometimes you don’t even realize how much you snack over the course of a day because you almost do it subconsciously.
Try raw fruits and vegetables, hard boiled eggs, as well as nuts and seeds to ensure you are making the most of your snacks. Be sure to only have one or two servings and not ten! Snacks are essentially foods to get us through to the next meal; so let’s go back to basics and snack how we should.
Benefits of healthy snacking
The benefits of healthy snacking are many.
- They quickly suppress cravings, especially for sugar and other junk foods.
- Eating healthy snacks improve your physical and mental energy.
- They can stimulate fat burning by changing your metabolism.
- Since snacking stabilizes blood sugar and prompts your body to produce less insulin, you’ll store less fat and use more of it to fuel all your daily activities from work to hard weight training.
- Healthy snacks can also help your body counteract the harmful effects of daily stress. In this way you reduce the overproduction of the stress hormone cortisol and insulin. Both prompt your body to store more fat.
- Snacking also helps to reduce cholesterol. Studies show that eating more frequently can lower blood cholesterol, specifically LDL, the “bad” cholesterol.
- In addition, studies show a staggering 30 percent increase in heart disease in those eating three meals or less per day.
Healthy snacking and weight loss
Studies show that eating healthy snacks can help promote weight loss. The story is very short and simple. If you wait until you’re feeling famished before you eat, you may eat too much of the wrong foods.
By keeping healthy snacks in your house and workplace, you can avoid the temptation to eat chips, cookies, and other unhealthy foods. When you buy snack foods, choose those that are both nutritious and low in calories. Limit your snacks to 200 calories or less.
Suggestions for healthy snacks
Healthy snacks for a healthy weight:
- Fresh fruit and vegetables (such as an apple or piece of carrot and celery).
- Raw almonds or cashews or combine almond butter with apple slices.
- Leftovers from a previous healthy meal.
- Plain yogurt or low-fat yogurt and fresh fruit.
- Low-fat milk.
- A boiled egg or two (but only 1 egg yolk)
- Healthy smoothie.
- Low-fat cheese (cottage cheese) and fruit (apple, grapes, prunes, raisins,apricots)
- Hard-boiled egg whites filled with hummus.
- A slice of whole wheat bread and a teaspoon of peanut butter.
- Turkey with vegetables on a half-round of pita bread.
- Wholemeal toast.
- A few nuts or seeds (half fist).
- Vegetable crudities (carrot, pepper and cucumber sticks). Crudités are traditional French appetizers consisting of sliced or whole raw vegetables which are typically dipped in a vinaigrette or other dipping sauce.
- Cereal bar or rice cakes.
Examples of unhealthy snacks
- Chocolate and candy bars.
- Cookies, cakes, and other pastry.
- Pretzels, corn and potato chips.
- Ice cream and whole milk.
- Fried vegetables, french fries
- Hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza.
Closing thoughts about choosing healthy snacks
Nutritious snacks can be almost anything you like, just as long as they are made from real, healthy food. Instead of biscuits, crisps and chocolate, make sure there are healthier alternatives to hand.
Fresh fruit, low-fat yogurt, wholemeal toast and wholegrain breakfast cereals are good choices. For many people (especially for those in weight training), snacks, like regular meals, should contain proteins.
Experiment to discover how much food you need and which types work best. Some people may need to eat much larger snacks, but others can get by on minimal amounts like just a small handful of raw almonds.
Snacks should be just like any other healthy meal, just much more smaller, and still supplying adequate nutrition. Are you already choosing healthy snacks?