Healthy Snack Ideas
Losing weight and snack foods don’t sound like phrases that belong in the same sentence. For many, healthy eating conjures up thoughts of foods they dread—perhaps Brussels sprouts or broccoli—but short of consuming what you really don’t like, there are ways to snack that are healthy and will help you lose weight.
Choose Snacks High in Protein and Fiber
Eating snack foods that are high in protein or fiber (or both) will help you lose weight by making you feel full, causing you to eat less. Over time, this will help shave off excess pounds. For instance, try hard-boiled eggs, which are high in protein and low in calories.
Any product made with soy, such as milk or ice cream—contains large amounts of fiber and protein. Try making smoothies with soy milk and berries or cocoa powder, or make a milkshake out of one of those combinations using soy ice cream.
Almonds also are high in protein and fiber and contain magnesium, a critical component for manufacturing energy and regulating sugar levels in your blood. Snacking with almonds helps keep sugar levels stable, which will prevent cravings caused by sudden drops or spikes in insulin (insulin spikes brought about by consuming sugary foods also cause the body to store extra calories as fat). Another benefit of almonds is that the structure of their cell walls reduces fat absorption. Try adding them to soy ice cream. In addition, the large amount of unsaturated fats in almonds (and almost all nuts) makes them more difficult for your body to digest, causing you to burn additional calories.
Yogurt, and any low-fat dairy product such as cottage cheese, also delivers lots of protein, and eating these on a daily basis has been shown to reduce belly fat. Add berries, apples or pears to make yogurt or cottage cheese an even healthier, more satisfying snack.
If you feel the need to eat a muffin or bagel, pick one made with whole grains, which are high in fiber and make your body’s use of insulin more efficient, thus preventing weight gain.
Snack on Vegetables and Low-Glycemic Fruits
Fruits such as apples and pears contain lots of fiber and water, which reduces cravings and lengthens the digestion process. This means you’ll feel full longer, and the fiber will block the absorption of some calories, faciitating weight loss.
Berries are also rich in fiber and contain many antioxidants, which increase blood flow and help your muscles contract more efficiently during workouts.
You can also snack your way to weight loss by eating leafy greens such as spinach and broccoli. Besides being low in calories and high in fiber, both contain high levels of calcium, an essential mineral for muscle contraction during exercise.
Because both celery and cabbage are hard for the body to digest, the act of consuming either may actually burn more calories than they contain. Try spreading low-fat peanut or almond butter on celery to add protein and fiber.
Make the Right Choices
If none of the above satisfies you can always help spur weight loss by making the right substitutions. For instance, instead of munching on crackers, eat whole-grain toast with peanut butter. Grab a handful of high-fiber, high-protein walnuts rather than digging into a bag of chips. When you want something really sweet, reach for a handful of frozen cherries, or throw them in a blender with some soy milk and cocoa powder.