Nutrition Articles

Snacking Healthy

Add Snacks to Subtract Pounds

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While some dieters happily accept when someone suggests a snack, others feel pangs of guilt when a nibble is merely suggested. However, there is nothing inherently wrong with a bite between meals. In fact, snacking might be the missing ingredient that will help you reach your weight loss goals.

But how can this make sense, since snacking theoretically adds calories?

Snacking doesn’t serve to replace a meal. In fact, you should spread meals and snacks out by an hour or two, and snacks should total a couple hundred calories or less.

Munching between meals can actually reduce your overall caloric intake by curbing overeating at your next meal. By controlling later binging, snacking can help you stay on track. You can actually use this to your advantage. If you know you are going out to a big dinner with friends later, for example, make sure you have a healthy snack before you head out so you’re less likely to order (and finish) a large entrée.
 
How You Snack Can Make or Break Your Diet
There is definitely a wrong way and a right way to snack. You should avoid sugary items like candy and soda, and shouldn’t be consuming enough calories to constitute a meal. Instead, steer towards foods that will satisfy you and keep you feeling fuller longer. Fruits and vegetables are always a safe bet because they are low in fat and calories. (Just be sure to avoid high-calorie dips.) Yogurt, fruit smoothies, even a slice of whole-wheat toast all make great snacks during the day. Combining lean protein, some healthy fat, and complex carbohydrates will help you feel fuller longer.
 
Mini Meals
Many experts are recommending several smaller meals throughout the day instead of the usual three. By eating at regular intervals, your blood sugar levels (and therefore your energy levels) remain stable. So, instead of that mid-afternoon crash, you’ll be full of vigor through dinnertime!   Eating every few hours (especially if you chew on fruits and veggies) can also help add extra nutrition that might be missing from other meals. Continued ›
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About The Author

Liz Noelcke Liz Noelcke
Liz is a journalist who often writes about health and fitness topics.

Member Comments

  • I only snack if I feel super hungry which isn't very often. Then I try a handful of sunflower seeds or nuts, a banana or a yogurt to take the edge off until mealtime. My low metabolism keeps me going. - 4/15/2016 9:19:14 AM
  • Had some string cheese before my workout today, only because I felt hungry. I am trying to only eat when I'm actually hungry. - 2/10/2016 12:07:05 PM
  • I have found that snacking does not support my body. Three meals a day with no snacking between meals or following dinner leaves me feeling at my best. - 12/4/2015 11:15:41 PM
  • various meal replacement shakes have helped with feeling full and satisfied. I add soluble fiber to one each morning, and I'm not hungry. When I was trying to go without from breakfast to dinner, I found myself really overeating in the evening, so I'm a true believer in spacing meals or snacks throughout the day. - 12/4/2015 12:03:01 PM
  • BUDBUDDHA
    Good information. I stopped buying natural peanut butter because I spend too much time "Grazing" on it. - 9/6/2015 10:11:44 AM
  • CRISTIN24
    Snacks are always an issue for me. I have a hard time finding snacks that incorporate protein and veggies. Does anyone have suggestions besides hummus and carrots (allergies)? Thanks!! - 8/20/2015 3:06:37 PM
  • thanks for the tips. :-)
    - 4/7/2015 9:50:28 PM
  • Thank you for this useful info. I know my snacks tend to match or exceed a meal allotment. Being mindful and committed help to curb this pitfall. - 7/30/2014 9:34:24 AM
  • Good article. Thanks. - 2/28/2014 4:27:16 AM
  • VAINVT
    Tea helps me a lot, and I try to have protein like a slice of meat or nuts. - 2/15/2014 7:27:39 AM
  • I try to make sure I eat every two hours. So I don't get hungry. - 9/10/2013 5:09:12 PM
  • STONECOT
    I don't like snacking as i actually like to feel hungry before I eat, and to feel satisfied when I finish. I find with snacking, I have to cut the rest of my portions down to a point where it's not enough, in order to stay within my allowance. Plus I don't get the satisfaction of enjoying feeding my hunger. - 9/11/2012 10:01:47 AM
  • Everything doesn't work for everyone. But this method has been suggested to me by , my endocrinologist. To eat smaller meals and eat 5 to 6 meals a day.When my sugars ran high and I get it down where it should be, then I felt like I was starving, so I ate and ate and not what I should have. It is what you eat when you snack or eat . I still don't have the right balance yet but I know I will and water is just as important.I use to not ever had enough. - 9/11/2012 7:58:08 AM
  • Always drink a glass of water with your snack. It feels more substantial and you are more satisfied that way, helping you to not overdo it. - 2/18/2012 12:42:44 PM
  • I only eat when I am hungry now, so I always have snacks on hand just in case I need it, but sometimes I don't. It's just better to be safe than sorry :) - 12/29/2011 12:36:55 PM

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