Do you like to graze all day? You are not alone. Americans snack more than ever. In 2011, snacks accounted for a whopping 580 of our daily calories! With high calorie, ultra-processed foods available to us wherever we turn, it’s not hard to overdo it at snack time.
Fortunately, if you’re working on a weight loss goal, you don’t necessarily have to forgo snacking. In fact, as a nutritionist, I’m all for smaller bites throughout the day. Spreading your calorie intake can help keep your blood sugar steady and keep you from becoming hungry.
But not all snacks are created equal. For weight loss, especially the annoying belly fat that likes to hang around your waist, it’s vital to choose snacks that support, rather than derail your efforts.
My first rule of thumb for a belly fat snack is to keep calories in mind. Just because most people eat a fourth meal a day through snacking doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. To shed belly fat (but not get too hungry), try to stick to around 200 calories or less.
In addition to keeping calories in check, you’ll want to choose snacks with a nutrient profile that keeps you full between meals. (That’s the purpose of the snack, right?) This means looking for foods rich in protein and satiating complex carbohydrates and high in fiber.
Don’t take my word for it: it’s science! A 2012 study in the journal Nutrition and metabolism they found that people who ate more high-quality protein had less belly fat. Other studies have also associated increased fiber intake with lower amounts of belly fat. Search the newspaper Obesityfor example, he found that for every 10 grams of soluble fiber gain in the diet, subjects had a 3.7% decrease in visceral (aka belly) fat.
So how do you create a snack that’s rich in both of these nutrients? I like to keep it simple with a combination that many people already have in their home kitchens: turkey and wholemeal crackers. This pairing is easily accessible, not too expensive, and comes together in a flash.
For quality meat that’s good for you and high in protein, try Applegate Naturals® Baked Roasted Turkey Breast. Its two-slice serving contains 11 grams of protein (22% of the daily value) and only 50 calories. (Or, if you have a little more time, consider reheating one of Applegate’s Organics® turkey burgers, which provide 20 grams of protein, 150 calories, and 105 grams of sodium.) Both products never use antibiotics, and they are raised in a humane way with no nitrites or chemical nitrates.
Amplify the flavor even further by layering the turkey on top of Triscuit’s Cracked Pepper and Olive Oil crackers. Their prime ingredient is whole wheat and their flavor comes from all-natural seasonings like black pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. Plus, with 3 grams of fiber and 120 calories for six crackers, they keep things high in fiber and low-calorie.
Put together, this powerful turkey cracker snack packs plenty of important protein and fiber for a total of 170 calories and a savory flavor that’s perfect any time of day. Snacking for a flatter tummy has never tasted so good!