Nutrition

Snacking the Healthy Way: Balancing Between Snacking and Eating Too Much

Medically reviewed by Raymond Radiguet M.D.

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Snacking can be both healthy and unhealthy depending on how you do it, and what you regard as snacks. There are people who snack as a way of shedding off weight. If you do it right it can be quite effective. If you get it wrong, you could end up gaining more weight. There is a thin line between healthy snacking and overeating. You have to find the balance. You should also put some effort into finding healthy snacks.

In the sections that follow, we are going to discuss snacking in a bit of detail. We will explore how you can snack the healthy way. We will also highlight the top 5 snacks for someone who’s trying to shed off some weight.

What Kind of Foods Should Be Snacks?

So, what kind of foods come to your mind when you hear the word snacks? Some think of sugary treats and others think of pastries. By definition, a snack is a small portion of food that you eat in between meals. That means that a snack can be any food. However, that’s not the kind of perception you want to have if you are trying to lose weight or stay fit.

So, what kind of food should you feature in your snacks portfolio?

Here are a few guidelines.

Light Foods

A snack should be something very light. Something that does not make you feel full almost immediately. Most people snack when they are in the middle of their work. Heavy foods will make you feel lethargic almost immediately. Think of light fruits such as apples, or cereals such as popcorn. It should be something you bite onto just to keep you going. Snacks are supposed to prevent you from feeling too hungry before a meal, but not feel you up.

Energy Boosters

A snack is supposed to give you a burst of energy. You can go for snacks that have natural sugars. Avoid anything that has artificial sugars. The natural sugar will be converted into glycogen and it will make you feel rejuvenated and energetic.

Think of sweet snacks such as pineapples, bananas, or sweet potatoes. If you choose snacks such as bananas or sweet potatoes, avoiding taking too much. One banana or a piece of sweet potato should be enough. Sugary snacks tend to make you feel full if you take too much.

That brings us to our next point.

Small Portions

Taking a whole bag of popcorn would not be a good snacking habit. Whatever you decide to snack on, it should be in very small portions. Taking a whole bowl of fruits is the same as eating a full meal. In as much as those fruits are nutritious, eating them like that beats the logic of snacking. In the long run, you will end up overeating. You will still end up eating your full meal because you do not perceive your full bowl of fruits or popcorn as a meal.

Our focus is on people trying to lose weight. Under such circumstances, snacking is supposed to help you eat less. The type of snacks you go for should prevent you from feeling hungry often and taking in a lot of calories.

Here are the top 5 snacks for someone hoping to lose some weight.  

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are somewhere between a full meal and a snack. They are a perfect snack if you take them in small portions. Nuts and seeds contain a lot of calories. You do not want to pack a lot of calories. You should increase the intervals between your full meals, and then snack on nuts and seeds.

Walnuts, almonds, peanuts, and many other nuts are good snacks. Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and other types of seeds are great as well. They are quite nutritious as well.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits are impressive snacks as well. They will make you feel energetic and they don’t pack you with too many calories. Grapefruit can also help you keep your appetite in check. It lowers your insulin levels which in turn makes you feel less hungry.

Citrus fruits are a good source of mineral nutrients such as zinc, iron, calcium and potassium. These nutrients will go a long way in helping you shed off excess weight and lead a healthier life.

Yoghurt

A glass of natural yoghurt will give you the energy you need to keep going during the day. It can help you avoid eating a lot of food. If you are on a diet, yoghurt will help keep you energetic and less hungry. Do not take too much yoghurt though. It has many calories and you do not want to take in too many of them if the goal is to lose weight.

Kale Chips

Not many people would think of kale as a snack. Most people don’t find kale tasty, and they wouldn’t consider them snacks. However, if you get creative you can make some pretty tasty treats that you can snack on. You can prepare some low-calorie kale chips to snack on during the day.

Kale is rich in mineral nutrients and vitamins. It also contains dietary fiber and antioxidants. Antioxidants will help improve blood flow in your body. Proper blood flow with improve your overall health, and aid your weight loss journey.

Hard-Boiled Eggs

Even when trying to lose weight, you still need your protein serving. If you have significantly reduced your food intake, snacking on a hard-boiled egg will give you the protein serving you need in a day. One egg will boost your energy levels and provide with many minerals and nutrients. You will get vitamins K2 and B12.

Eggs are heavy and pack a high number of calories. You should not take too many, especially if you are taking them as snacks. You should not take more than two-hard boiled eggs in a day if you are hoping to lose weight.

In conclusion, snacking is a great way of staying healthy if you understand your bodies nutritional needs. Different people have different nutritional needs. In most cases, snacking is supposed to help you diet without punishing yourself too much. When you reduce your portions and increase the duration in between full meals, you are likely to feel hungry often. Snacks will reduce hunger while allowing you to keep your calorie intake in check. As mentioned earlier, there is a thin line in-between and it is easy to end up even more than you were eating before.

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