5 Snacking Tips to Avoid Weight Gain
By Alicia Pregent, RD
Let’s face it: living in a world full of so many unhealthy food indulgences can be the perfect recipe for packing on a few pounds. Thankfully there are ways that can actually help you lose weight, not to mention allow you to enjoy yourself while becoming healthier. The best part is that many of these methods are also easy and convenient, so they will be a cinch to include in your daily routine. After all, nothing hits the spot quite like a hearty helping of education. You don’t have to deny yourself all the joys of eating if you’re mindful of a few simple tips on snacking.
Snacking between meals can be part of a healthy diet. A snack between meals can provide energy that is needed during the day and can keep you feeling full so that you do not overeat later. It can even provide an opportunity to get vitamins and minerals that might otherwise be lacking in the diet. The key is to snack in a way that won’t lead to overindulging.
1. Only snack if you plan it. Snacking too closely to a meal and you might not have given your body time to feel full yet. Snacking should be done about 3 hours after your last meal and add value to your diet for example, a snack that has protein and fiber. Avoid snacking because you are feeling bored or sad. Look for other outlets to deal with emotions.
2. Have healthy snacks available. Fill your refrigerator with yogurt containers that are easy to grab. Try stocking up on fruits and vegetables. They can be washed and cut them ahead of time for a quick nutrient rich, tasty snack.
3. Watch your portion sizes. Play close attention to portion sizes. Prepackage larger bulk items into single serving baggies. Avoid snacking from a large container which can lead to eating larger portions.
4. Focus on some protein. Protein can help you feel full until that next meal. Try low fat cheese, Greek yogurt, rolled up turkey, or a small serving of nuts, hummus, or peanut butter.
5. Distinguish hunger from thirst. Often, we mistake thirst for hunger. Try drinking a glass of water before you eat a snack. Wait 10 minutes and decide if you’re still hungry. Then see if it is close to your next meal or planned snack. If not, go for a walk or do something active and wait.