For years and years of practice, I find that my clients punish themselves for snacking because they feel that it should not be a part of their weight loss program. Ironically though, I am adamant that snacking might be the missing key to helping them lose their weight.
Snacking should not replace a meal but should instead be included in the calories that are set up for your weight loss program. Munching between meals will actually reduce your overall calorie intake by preventing you from being famished for your next meal and and from ending up in that vicious cycle of overeating. We have all been there. If we eat too little during the day, it is so easy to get out of control and even binge in the evening.
If you are invited out to a restaurant for dinner, you should have a healthy snack before you head out. This is to ensure that you will not end up eating several slices of bread on the table and your entire entrée. After having a substantial mid-afternoon snack, my clients are usually successfully able to take half of the entrée home or just order a couple of appetizers.
There is definitely a wrong way and a right way to snack. In between meals, you should avoid candy, sodas and even fruit alone. In fact, notice that eating an apple or a fruit smoothie when you are hungry doesn’t fill you up. It can make you feel more hungry because the natural sugar plays havoc with your blood sugar. Consider fruit as a dessert, like in cookies and candies, and they should only be eaten after a meal. The perfect snack is when you combine lean protein, and some healthy fat and whole grains. This will without a doubt help you feel full longer.
Now, we do not want mindless eating here. We want snacks that make sense and will keep your blood sugar stable all afternoon until dinner. If you have a weakness for crackers, then you can certainly have them if you balance them out with a protein or with some fruits and veggies. For those of you who eats breakfast early, it makes sense to have a mid-morning snack so you will not be too hungry for lunch and go out and order something unhealthy. For most of us if we choose meals that are balanced and the right portion size then it is best to eat every three hours. This is where I work very closely with my client to find the right eating schedule for them.
Here are some healthy snack suggestions that will keep your blood sugar stable all afternoon.
HEALTHY SNACK SUGGESTIONS
- 1 oz. of crackers is typically a serving of 100 Calories. Follow this with an hardboiled egg or 1-2 slices of turkey, ham, chicken, roast beef with maybe a pickle or an apple.
- A bean soup, like lentil, split pea, minestrone, white bean, chicken tortilla, or another hearty soup. Progresso soups are great for the office with their flip top lid and no need to add water. Just pour into an oversized mug and heat it up. Can be enjoyed at your desk with little mess.
- 1 cup of Fat free or 1% Cottage Cheese with fruit or veggies and 100 Calories of crackers.
- Beef or Turkey Jerky with a piece of fruit or veggies with Ranch Dressing
- Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce and a few Crackers
- Sliced Turkey, Ham or Chicken wrapped around a pickle with 100 Calories Baked Lays
- Three Bean Salad (Garbanzo, Kidney and Green Beans), available in see thru jars or the popular yellow can at Trader Joe’s
- Homemade Hummus with veggies and Ak Mak Crackers
How about the other half of my lunch? Particularly if it was a large deli sandwich with an addition of tomato soup which is a lighter soup.
I always teach my clients how to be ahead by at least one meal or snack and have a good repertoire of food choices at the office or at home. So snack healthy and you’ll see that you will get hungry less often and you will be successful in losing those excess pounds!