A mid-day snack can be super satisfying. While snacks can be a great midday treat, it seems people try to avoid them, thinking they are unnecessary extra calories throughout the day. However, there are so many healthy options worth adding to your daily routine, whether you make them at home or prepackaged at the grocery store, so don’t neglect a snack to curb hunger.
That said, if you are a snack, keep snacking. However, it is best to get rid of bad habits and exchange them for healthier eating habits. If you don’t know where to start but are eager to start losing weight, here are some ideas suggested by our board of medical experts that you can incorporate into your daily life. And for more tips to start losing weight, be sure to check out 50 Healthiest Snacks To Eat For Weight Loss.
One of the best ways to burn fat is to eat a combination of proteins and carbohydrates. Molly Hembree, MS, RD, LD suggests that a similar combination is also a great snacking method to help start losing weight.
“Low-fat animal proteins like stretched curd cheese or a small can of tuna (packed in water) or smart vegetable proteins like peanut butter, cashews or hummus help satisfy our protein requirement at snack time to help with satiety and muscle building, “says Hembree. “Pair it with nutrient-rich carbohydrates like an apple, raisins, canned pineapple, carrots or whole-grain crackers, and you’re unlikely to overeat at the next meal!”
Having a more normalized eating pattern tends to be best for most people for long-term sustainable weight loss, he suggests. Julie Upton, MS, RD. If you are currently on a daily routine, especially during the work week, it may be helpful to snack at the same times you normally do and continue to maintain them.
“This means that for most people, having three meals and two snacks, one mid-morning and one in the afternoon, breaks down the daily calories into a manageable amount so that metabolism, insulin, etc. can process the ‘energy in the most efficient way,’ says Upton.
If you eat too many calories at one time, or too many at the end of the day, this can lead to increased body fat. A study by The Endocrine Society showed research suggesting that eating a late dinner can contribute to weight gain and high blood sugar. As for snacks, it’s important to time them and aim for 200 calories to lose weight and keep it off.
“My clients often tell me they avoid snacks, skip breakfast, just eat a snack for lunch, and then gorge themselves on dinner. This isn’t a weight loss practice,” says Hembree. “Our bodies are instead designed to need energy and sustenance throughout the day, eating every 3 to 4 hours.”
Hembree suggests it skipping meals and snacks causes people to run around empty, only to feel desperate in the evening and most likely compromise their eating decisions by making more unhealthy choices. Also, trying to resist snacking to reduce calorie intake throughout the day actually makes it difficult for your body to burn more.
In fact, according to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, those who eat at least six times a day have lower BMIs and consume fewer calories overall than those who eat just three square meals, so incorporating healthy snacks into your day is a good habit to acquire.
Snacks can mean something doable and small, but filling enough to hold you back for a couple of hours. Hembree suggests something like a 250-calorie combination of a cup of yogurt with 1/2 cup of blueberries and 2 tablespoons of granola.
Many times, when people think of snacks, they think of chips, candy, baked goods, or any other processed food. These snack choices are low-quality, high-calorie options that won’t help you lose weight, but instead gain weight. To avoid these bad snacking habits, Upton suggests getting into the habit of snacking on fruits and vegetables, as he will almost ensure that the snack calories will stay in balance with your overall daily calorie budget.
“Snacks currently comprise about 25 percent of Americans’ total calories, which really makes them a fourth meal, when, in reality, you want the snacks to be more like 200 calories mid-morning and mid-afternoon,” says Upton. . “Remember, no one needs a snack before bed. We don’t need to fill up for sleep!”