When health and fitness enthusiasts talk about changing diets to lose weight and get in shape, they usually have a strong focus on your three square meals. That makes a lot of sense, because the “three meals a day” idea is being accepted as a norm in most places. While this may be the case, there is something that most of us have not really considered – snacking.
Yes, gone are the days when snacking is seen to be something that people who want to lose weight must avoid at all costs. In fact, it is even accepted that snacking can help people to lose weight, but only when done in a certain way. This article will explore some of the ways you can use snacking to your advantage.
The first things to consider when deciding on a snacking strategy are the number of calories and the type of nutrients the snack provides. After all, the whole point of snacking is to keep your metabolism active while not putting too much fuel in the tank, so to speak. Snacking is also advisable because when you do feel the munchies, it is better to face it head on.
It is precisely for the reasons above that fruits and vegetables are seen to be such great snacks. If you think about it, a decent serve of fruit or veg will hit all the requirements mentioned in the paragraph above. Furthermore, health professionals have suggested that we should try and get two serves of fruit and five serves of veggies a day, so having them as snacks count!
One thing to note though is that fruits are higher in calories than vegetables due to its natural sugar content, so focus on the veg more if weight loss is your goal. Personally, I’m not a “fruit person” anyway. I’ll be happy to eat some when offered, but won’t go out of my way to get some. But keep in mind that fruits contain natural sugars and are therefore healthier than other sugary snacks.
The Dietitians Association of Australia recommends fruits and veggies as snacks, but they also say that they do lack protein, good fats, and other essential nutrients. Therefore, they might not actually keep you full to the extent that it is required. Honestly, this really varies from person to person, but it is true in the case of some people.
As such, it would be a great idea to combine your fruit and veg intake with a source of protein, so that your snack will actually tide you over to the next meal. Some of these protein-friendly snacks include nuts, boiled eggs, cheese or yoghurt. However, do be aware of the overall calorie intake when you snack, unless your goal is to bulk up.
What if you need some quick energy or focus, such as a board meeting in the afternoon? In such cases, ensure that you get enough carbohydrates. Fruits work well, but so does grain-based crackers as well. You also do not want to neglect your protein needs even when the emphasis is on carbohydrates. So an example of something suitable would be a few wheat biscuits and a bit of cheese, or a small can of tuna.
Ultimately when it comes to snacking, there are no hard and fast rules. My advice is that you experiment with different combinations. The only things you have to be aware of are the total calories, and whether the snack contains sufficient proteins and carbohydrates. Remember that proper snacking is essential when it comes to achieving weight loss success. All the best!
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