Trying to lose weight does not mean that a person has to give up all snacks. Certain snack foods, such as almonds and hummus, can help a person reach their weight loss goals. Contrary to popular belief, when a person tries to lose weight, they do not have to avoid eating or only eat at meal times.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), skipping food to lose weight generally backfires because it sets a person up to overeat.
However, when a person satisfies their hunger with healthful snacks, they are much less likely to want to eat unhealthful foods or go over their calorie limit.
Some foods are better for weight loss than others.
In general, foods that are high in fiber or protein tend to be more filling. This means a person will feel satiated faster and may eat less at each snack time or meal.
Other considerations are finding foods that are low in calories but high in volume or density. The more space a food takes up in the stomach, the more full a person may feel. Again, this helps a person eat less with each snack.
People may also want to consider foods that help with metabolism and energy. Higher energy can help a person burn more calories, and a better metabolism can help a person more efficiently process the food they eat.
People looking to lose weight should avoid foods that contain large amounts of:
- saturated fat
- simple carbohydrates
Unprocessed foods are good choices because many processed snacks contain high levels of sugar, salt, or both. Snacking between meals can help with weight loss. Snacking on healthful options can help prevent someone from overeating as well as provide vitamins, fiber, and protein.
The following are some of the best snacks for weight loss.
Hummus is a traditional Mediterranean dish that people make from pureed chickpeas. Due to its growing popularity, there are often several flavor options for premade hummus dips available in stores. People can also make hummus at home.
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When people eat hummus with vegetables, they are getting the benefit of hummus as well as any additional nutrients from the vegetables.
Celery is a low-calorie vegetable. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), two large celery stalks count as 1 cup of vegetables of the 2.5 cups necessary per day for a 2,000-calorie diet.
Celery is primarily water, which can help a person feel full. Dipping celery in a nut butter, such as peanut or almond butter, can provide the benefits of healthful fats and protein as well.
Apples and peanut butter is a good diet-friendly snack.
People can get creative with their fruit and nut butter combinations if they desire. According to the USDA, one medium apple provides 20 percent of a person’s dietary fiber, and 1 of the 2 recommended cups of fruit each day.
Dipping an apple slice in peanut or another nut butter also adds protein and good fat to a person’s snack.
Low-fat cheese products offer many nutrients and lower fat counts than regular cheese.
Some of the benefits include:
- source of protein
- source of calcium
- source of other vitamins and minerals
Low-fat cheese also contains fewer calories than full-fat cheese.
Nuts can be a very healthful and filling snack.
Nuts provide protein and good fats. However, those looking to limit their salt intake should check the label to make sure there is no added salt. Also, a person should avoid nuts cooked with flavors, since the flavors often contain sugar or salt.
People should look for raw or dry-roasted nuts instead. Nuts are relatively high in calories, so a person should only eat a small amount per snack.
Eggs are an excellent source of protein. In past years, however, many people thought that eggs were not healthful due to concerns about cholesterol.
However, more recent research suggests that eggs do not raise cholesterol levels and contain many essential nutrients.
Greek yogurt is high in protein and calcium and low in fat and calories. A person can safely add fresh fruit or nuts to Greek yogurt to improve its taste and add nutritional value.
The best Greek yogurt for weight loss is the plain variety. Greek yogurts with flavoring will often contain extra sugar, which is not good for weight loss.
Edamame is a legume that a person can eat as a snack. Similar to other legumes, edamame is a source of fiber and protein.
Popcorn is a popular snack food in the U.S. It often gets a bad reputation due to the additional sugar, fat, or salt that people put on it.
Air-popped popcorn does not contain these extra ingredients. Plain popcorn is a low-calorie whole grain that offers plenty of filling fiber.
The most effective way to add healthful snacks to the diet is to keep a stock of them in easy reach.
For example, a person could prepare a week’s worth of snacks at the beginning of the week. Once prepared, the person can then portion out the snack into individual serving sizes.
For instance, a person can prepare hummus in one large batch at the start of the week by pureeing chickpeas with olive oil, tahini, and seasonings in a food processor.
After preparation, they can put the hummus into small containers and accompany each container with a preportioned bag of carrot sticks.
Those who lack time to prepare their own snacks can look for snack-sized portions sold in grocery stores. Many products come prepacked in snack sizes.
People looking for premade, preportioned snacks should be aware that they are often more expensive. They will also need to look out for added sugars, salt, and fat.
Eating healthful snacks can play an important role in helping a person lose and manage weight.
People should look for snacks that are low in sugar, fat, and salt. They should also seek snacks high in nutrients such as fiber and protein.
Beans, nuts, and raw vegetables and fruits are often good choices that will help a person feel fuller and provide necessary nutrients.