One of the biggest reasons people put on weight is because of their snacking habits. When you’re hungry, you want something quick and convenient like a bag of crisps. Most snack options are very high in calories and have no nutritional benefits at all. On the other hand, not snacking at all is also shown to lead to weight gain because you end up eating more during your main meals. Plus, anyone with a growling stomach becomes a slave to their cravings. The easiest route to weight loss is to find a balance between foods that are healthy and those that fill you up. Follow these seven snacking rules for weight-loss friendly snacks that will quell your hunger.
1. Look For Protein-Rich Foods
Protein takes a lot longer to break down that carbs do. This means that when you eat a high-protein snack, your body isn’t going to send you hunger signals for a long while. Plus, if you’re eating lean protein, then you aren’t going to be consuming a lot of calories either. Keep a few boiled eggs on hand so you can eat them immediately when you’re hungry. A small handful of peanuts, a spoonful of peanut butter or even some scrambled tofu (if you have the patience to make this when you’re hungry) are other great high-protein snack options.
2. Don’t Snack More Than Twice A Day
Even if you are choosing healthy snack options, you still can’t snack with abandon. Snacking through the day adds to your calorie count and can undo all of your weight loss efforts. Make it a point to not snack more than twice a day, once between breakfast and lunch and once between lunch and dinner. This way, you’ll keep your hunger cravings in check and won’t pig out when it’s time to eat your meals. Snacking at these times also keeps your blood sugar stable and your energy levels high.
3. Limit Your Calories
One spoonful of peanut butter is a healthy snack. But half a jar of peanut butter becomes an indulgence. Just because something is healthy doesn’t mean you don’t have to practice portion control. Your snacks should not be more than 200 calories, or even less depending upon your weight. You also need to make sure that most of these calories come from complex fibers and protein. 200 calories of sugar does not make for a very healthy snack.
4. Stay Away From Sugar
Most snacks are high in sugar, but this is the worst ingredient you can have in a snack for two reasons. First, it piles up calories without having any nutritional content. And second, eating sugary snacks might fill you up in the moment, but you’ll be starving again very soon. Sugar spikes your blood sugar levels and then sends it crashing down again. This is why you feel energetic soon after eating something sugary, but soon after, you feel sluggish and can’t concentrate very well. When your sugar levels fall, you also become very hungry again and will need to eat more.
5. Prep In Advance
Hungry people aren’t the most patient. When you’re craving something to eat, you really don’t want to chop, boil or cook something for yourself. You want a snack that’s readily available and doesn’t require any work. Unfortunately, most convenient snacks are also calorie bombs. To stay away from temptation, make sure you prepare snacks well in advance so you can grab them when you’re hungry. You can spread peanut butter over whole grain bread and add a few apple slices to it for a delicious, convenient and healthy snack. Carry this with you to work so you have something to eat when you can feel a craving coming on.
6. Drink Water When You’re Hungry
It might sound strange, but most of can get our thirst signals and our hunger signals mixed up. If you’re feeling very hungry in the middle of the day, drink a glass of water first. You might realize that you were just thirsty all along and don’t really need something to eat. Misinterpreting signals could also be the reason why you feel so hungry when you wake up in the mornings. Make sure you stay hydrated through the day so you don’t snack unnecessarily.
7. Find Healthier Alternatives
Giving up our guilty pleasures can seem close to impossible. But the good news is, you don’t have to. Not completely, at least. If you love snacking on nachos, eat a handful once a week. On the remaining days, find healthier alternatives to nachos such as kale crisps or sweet potato chips. Finding healthier substitutes for your high-calorie snacks can help you stick with a healthier diet in the long run. If you love ice cream, for example, Greek yogurt with fresh fruit is a delicious, more nutritious alternative.