How Snacking Can Help--or Hurt--Your Weight Loss

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Let's face it, most of us are bombarded with access to food on an almost daily basis. From our fellow co-workers bringing in the daily supply of morning donuts, to weddings, baby showers and office parties, along with the growing number of restaurants spotting the landscape, many of us do not have to worry about when and where our next meal or snack will come from. According to research, this massive availability to food, in addition to our declining activity levels, may be two of the biggest factors responsible for our ever expanding waistlines. We are also spending more time eating between meals and sadly many of us underestimate the amount of food we are eating at any given meal or snack.

So what can you do to avoid the snacking trap?
According to researchers making ourselves aware of when and what we are eating is a step in the right direction. Eating three quality meals and snacks high in fruits and veggies and low in processed foods can be a big factor in embracing a healthy lifestyle, as well as following some of the guidelines in the articles and links below.
Are You a Smart Snacker?

9 Foods You Think are Healthy but Aren't
Facts on 100-Calorie Snack Packs
Keep Healthy Snacks Handy   
Snacking Healthy
11 Savory Snacks Under 250 Calories
Eating with Diabetes: Smart Snacking  
Video: 100-Calorie Snacks
25 After-School Snack Ideas  
20 Nifty, Nutritious Snacks for Kids
Portable Snacking Tips and Ideas
Movie Theater Snack Attack
I Get By with a Little Help from My Snacks
10 Healthy Summer Snacks   
Habits of Healthy Eaters: Pack Snacks When You Travel

Do you agree with the findings of this study? What healthy snacking tips might you suggest?

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Becoming more aware of what I am eating has made a huge impact on my weight. Reading the label is one thing and knowing what the label means is completely different. YoCrunch yogurt has also made an impact on my new lifestyle. By having so many different products they always have something that will calm down my sweet tooth or my loud stomach and it also fits within my budget so that is always a plus!!! Report
I need to snack...I get too hungry otherwise...but I have snacking rules. I have one pre-portioned baggie of almonds per day (Trader Joe's Just a Handful of Roasted Almonds, salt-free, 1.2oz per baggie) and that's my treat. I aim to make the rest of my snacks fruits and vegetables. They're less calorie-dense than a lot of other foods, so I can eat until I'm satisfied without worrying about the calories. Report
Snacking seems to be a major obstacle when it comes to weight-loss. But it's not just what you eat, it's also where you eat it. My company, Greatist, wrote an article about how eating in front of the television affects caloric intake (
/). Def something to consider next time you plop down for snack time. Report
I keep healthy snacks around - fruit, veggies, cheese sticks, and rarely buy 'bad' snacks like chips. Report
How well I do depends on how disciplines I am when I am in the grocery store. If I buy smart, I eat smart! Report
Keep healthy snacks available, so when I need one, I can have a selection of healthy snacks to choose from :o) Report
I've found that having a snack (pre-planned, for the most part) before turning on an afternoon tv show wards off the snack goblins as I'm not only satisfied, but happy that I'm on the right path. The commerical goblins that want to lure you into fast-food pizza, candy bars, etc are so much easier to laugh at! Report
I never snacked as a child growing up as my mother fixed three meals per day and we ate at the table. She thought eating between meals killed your appetite so u wouldn't want to eat at the meal. We NEVER took food out of the kitchen to eat in our bedrooms or in front of the TV. We were slim then, so I certainly think all the snacks today is a real problem. Report
I really don't snack as much as I used to. Luckily where I work now there is not a lot of food around. I love my three solid meals a day. I have been working on eating when I am hungry and not eating when I am not really hungry. Report
I eat four meals a day and don't snack. This works better for me. Report
Usually reading the label of a snack food is enough to deter me from eating it. Then I go for a piece of fruit instead. Report
Snacking, especially in the evenings, is my biggest food problem. I can do really good all day and then the bedtime snackies bite me in the backside more often than I'd like to admit. I know they're laying in wait, but they still catch me off guard too often. I'm trying to find good choices to keep on hand so I have something to throw at them that won't do too much damage. Just armed myself with a box of Fiber One bars. Yummy, chewy and not a huge amount of calories. Report
Alway journal your snack so you can see at the end of the day what you are eating. Report
Snacking can be fine if we know exactly what we are putting in our bodies. Snacking can fit into our daily diet if we track what we are eating. If we mindlessly graze, however, the tendency is to overeat. Report
I have found that reading the nutrition label on snack foods has been enough to deter me from making unhealthy choices. Now that I'm in a routine with my food intake, I'm not hungry and it's rare that I even think of going to the pantry for mindless grazing. Report
When I pack my lunch for work, I try and include several healthy snacks. Sometimes I forget about snacks on my off days. That can be a problem for me sometimes because I just start eating "stuff" I find in the cupboards.
Sometimes staying busy I don't need or miss a snack. It really seems to depend on my state of mind. But it is great to have healthy options available. Report
It's not the snacking. It's the lack of awareness, as BRIKO2011 pointed out.

You can eat ONLY snacks (many tiny meals) and lose weight. But you have to track them.

It's the tracking (and overall calorie intake) that matters. Not the frequency and type of meals. Report
Yes, being aware of what, when, where and how much you are snacking is so important! I've been trying to snack only during certain time periods (usually btw breakfast and lunch, then btw lunch and dinner) NOT eating any free samples in grocery store and NOT snacking while I'm making a regular meal. I try to sit down while I'm eating the snack and not be distracted by tv or other things. Report
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