Snacks: How they Fit into a Weight-Loss Plan

Lunch is hours away, yet your stomach is growling! You could indulge yourself with a snack, but you think it's best to avoid treats altogether, to wait for lunch. Not true, if weight loss is your goal. In fact, small meals several times a day can help manage hunger & reduce binging. Eating a healthy snack may stop you from taking second or third helpings at your next meal, radically cutting the calories you consume. Healthy meals often lose out to busy schedules. A grab-and-go snack could be the difference between some nourishment & none at all.


Well-planned, healthy snacks can complement your weight-loss plan. Select foods that satisfy your hunger, give your body energy, & provide important nutrients.

Here are some of your best snack options:
Whole grains: Whole-grain snacks are rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates which give you energy with staying power. Look for items such as low-fat whole-grain crackers, whole-grain pretzels, and whole-grain crisp breads.
Fruits and vegetables: Eating fruits and vegetables provide a feeling of fullness with no fat and only a small number of calories. They also provide vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients.
Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds provide protein, so you will feel fuller longer. They can be high in fat, but it's mostly monounsaturated, a healthy kind of fat. Nuts and seeds are high in calories, however, so don't eat them in
large quantities.
Low-fat dairy products: Cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products are good sources of calcium and protein, plus many other vitamins and minerals. Dairy products can be high in fat, so choose the low-fat versions. Some yogurts have added sugar, so look for low-calorie or "light" varieties. Although snacks can contribute to a healthy diet, they can also be a source of excess calories if you aren't careful. For example, a small handful of almonds (about 14 nuts) contains 100 calories and eat a cup of almonds, and the calorie count jumps to over 800 calories. The key to incorporating snacks into your weight-loss plan is to plan them with variety, moderation, and balance in mind.

Need some ideas?
Prepare your own healthy low-calorie snacks using these suggestions:
• Half an apple with 2 teaspoons of peanut butter
• 1/2 cup frozen orange juice, eaten as sorbet
• An orange and a few dry-roasted nuts
• 10 cashew nuts
• 10 almonds
• 2 ounces of lean meat
• 3 ounces of low-fat cottage cheese and 3 whole-wheat crackers
• 1/4 cup fat-free ranch dressing with mixed raw vegetables
• 1 small baked potato with ½ cup of salsa and 1 tablespoons of fat-free sourcream
• 4 to 6 ounces of no-fat or low-fat yogurt
• 1 stick of string cheese and a few crackers

30 September 2011