The decision to become healthier by way of weight loss is a struggle for many people. We have been told most of our lives that healthy food choices mean giving up the food and snacks that make us happy or we will be unable to achieve weight loss success.The truth is, healthy snacking can aid you in losing weight! If the right choices are made, you can enjoy snacking and still lose weight!This article will guide you through identifying healthy and flavorful weight loss snacks that will contribute to your weight loss goal.
How can healthy snacking help you lose weight?
If you make smart choices, healthy snacking can be the thing that aids you in your weight loss journey.Keep in mind that balance is everything. Too much snacking or the wrong kind of snacking can back fire. We will get into that soon.Rachel Morris, an author with Women’s Day Magazine, wrote about 4 women that mastered the art of snacking in between meals and still achieved their weight loss goals.((Women’s Day Magazine: Meet the 2014 Live Longer & Stronger Challenge Participants)) These women have proved that healthy snacking and weight loss are a dynamic duo.Not only do you not have to give up snacks, you can eat the snacks that you actually love.
Mindfulness, snacking, and weight Loss
The importance of mindful eating is massive. Rachel Zimmerman, an R.D. at Indiana University Hospital at IU Health states the following:
“Just because snack foods like dark chocolate, nut butters, and avocado have earned nutritional kudos for being good sources of heart-healthy fats and other nutrients, that doesn’t mean you should eat a ton of them.”
The most important step is mindfulness. The key to getting started is being mindful when making snack choices. For a guide to mindful eating, please take a look my other article:The Best Benefits of Mindful Eating for Weight Loss and How to Start NowMindfulness isn’t something that is taught to us. It is something that you seek to learn and incorporate in your day to day living. Many of us don’t know the truth about food and the role that food plays in our lives and in our health. This creates unhealthy habits.Food is usually used as a substance for pleasure instead of nourishment. We devour most things in front of us without being mindful and aware about what we are actually consuming:((Carla Naumburg: A Mindful S.N.A.C.K))
Tips for getting started with healthy snacking and weight loss
So how to get started with healthy snacking while reaching your weight loss goals? Here’re some tips for you:
- Set your goal. Before getting started, you have to know what you want. What is the goal? How many pounds per week? How many pounds total?
- Set a deadline. What date/season are you wanting to have the weight off? It is important to set a target date so that you are focused.
- Practice mindfulness. Mindful eating is about eating mindfully. It is about being fully aware of what you are experiencing; your cravings and physical cues. Eating for purpose and not boredom or pleasure is key for your goals.
- Mind your plates. Use smaller plates so that you are not loading a large plate. If you load a small plate, you are still controling your portions but enjoying a plate full of food.
- Have breakfast. We have heard it since the beginning of time: “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. It is! Studies like one conducted by NCBI, shows that people trying to lose weight are more successful in reaching their goals when they incorporate breakfast in their daily routine.((Front Hum Neurosci: The effects of breakfast on behavior and academic performance in children and adolescents)) This step alone can help you in your weight loss goals and make you want to snack less.
- Pack your snacks. The saying “stay ready so you never have to get ready” is very true here. Packing your snacks and preparing for the day is key. You want to have healthy options when you start to crave food. Packing things like healthy granola bars, crackers and fruits etc. will alleviate the bad choice of a candy bar or chips from the vending machine.
- Keep track of your calorie intake. Keep a small memo pad or an active document on your mobile device. It is important to record what you eat, and the calories consumed. This will help you stay on track.
- Sleep. Sleep and weight loss are like partners. Research shows that lack of sleep impacts your metabolism, and we all know that slow metabolisms contribute to weight gain.((Harvard Health Publishing: Does Metabolism Matter in Weight Loss?)) Getting a solid 8 hours of sleep per night to help you with your weight loss goals.
- Reward yourself. It is so important to reward yourself for a job well done. When you work hard throughout the week and see the benefits on the scale, reward yourself! Losing weight and changing eating habits is difficult. When a mission is accomplished, get out there are pat yourself on the back!
- Drink sufficient water. Please drink water! Water is absolutely necessary for health but can also aid you in losing weight. Try drinking a cup of water before snacking. You may find that you weren’t hungry at all, just thirsty (many times, dehydration shows up as hunger).
Tasty and healthy snacks for your weight loss goals- all diets
There a lot of different diets out there for various reasons. These reasons are tied to health, values, and morality. No matter your dietary preferences, snacking with mindfulness and awareness is important. This should go without saying.However, no matter your diet, fruits and vegetables should be the number one choice! Fruits and vegetables are essential and key for a healthy life and body. When a little variation is needed, incorporating exciting, tasty, and healthy snacks can still be good for your weight loss goals. Let’s get into a few snacks for your dietary need/preference and your weight loss goals!
Snacks for carnivores
For carnivores, eating a carnivore diet means that meat and animal products is/are a regular part of your diet. Snacks for carnivores that lead to weight loss:
1. Rice Crackers and Cheese
Rice crackers are usually made with brown rice which is a great fiber and carbohydrate source. Fiber makes you feel full for longer. Cheese has so many essentials: calcium, protein, and vitamins A and B. Paired together, rice crackers and cheese can help you get there with the combination of protein, fiber, carbs, and vitamins.Weight loss tip:Remember that this is a snack. Always go with the serving recommendation on the label. It is much easier to track calories and fat.
2. Boiled Chicken Breast Topped with Lemon Juice, Ginger, and Pepper
Chicken is a good source of protein and one of the cleaner and leaner meats to eat. Chicken breast also aids in the reduction of cardiovascular disease but also contributes to muscle development and muscle growth.Snacking on boiled chicken can aid you in your weight loss journey. Topping with lemon juice, pepper, and ginger is very impactful flavor combination but also a wonderful anti-inflammatory combination.((CookingLight: 50 Healthy Chicken Breast Recipes))Weight loss tip:Emphasis is placed on chicken breast because white meat chicken has less fat than dark meat chicken. Fatty meats will hurt you in trying to achieve your goal. The golden rule- be mindful of your choices.
Having soup for a snack can contribute significantly to your weight loss goal. Soup is hearty, filling, and more appealing than water to many (water is so necessary so please do not replace water with soup, still drink water!).You sip/drink soup slower than water and because of that, soup is known for staying in your system much longer, making you feel fuller for longer. That means, less eating!Weight loss tip:Be mindful of sodium/salt/msg. High levels of sodium in a diet alters the metabolism and a healthy metabolism is key for fat absorption.
Snacks for pescatarians
For pescatarians, eating a pescatarian diet means that you don’t consume land animal (chicken, beef, pork, etc.), just sea animals (fish). Some pescatarians consume land animal products (eggs and dairy, while others consume only sea animal and sea animal products (no milk, no butter, no eggs).
4. Tuna Salad
Tuna is high in potassium and omega-3 fatty acids. Potassium is an electrolyte that helps maintain blood pressure and blood flow; it also counteracts sodium. Additionally, it is high in vitamin B and low in calories and fat.~ Full recipe here!Weight loss tip:Be mindful of how you eat your tuna. Be cautious of the amount of mayonnaise used. The best way to snack on tuna is with a fork (so you can eat slowly and mindfully).
5. Steamed Shrimp
Shrimp has so many health benefits and can truly aid you in your weight loss goals. Shrimp is super low in calories and very protein rich. Shrimp is really a combination of protein and water; you won’t find fatty pockets on shrimp.As a snack, shrimp will provide so many vitamins and minerals with the added benefit of feeling completely satisfied.Weight loss tip:Be mindful of the serving size and mindful of the seasoning that you use. Seasonings high in sodium will alter the amazing benefits. Consider using lemon juice, ginger, and garlic.
6. Smoked salmon
This snack comes ready for you to eat! It is tasty and healthy, packed with antioxidants (antioxidants remove damaging oxidizing agents in a living organism- food products stored in your system). Our bodies have to function properly to aid us in our weight loss and health goals. Smoked salmon is a healthy snack and healthy medicine!Weight loss tip:Smoked salmon requires nothing to be added. It is packed full of flavor from the preparation. Adding things like sodium will contradict the amazing benefits. The best way to eat smoked salmon is with a fork.
Snacks for vegetarians
For vegetarians, eating a vegetarian diet means that you don’t consume any type of animal- no land animal and no sea animal but, may still eat animal products such as milk, butter, and eggs.
7. Greek Yogurt and Fresh Fruit
Greek yogurt is packed with protein. Eating this alone is already a wild health benefit due to the process of making it, which includes draining out the lactose! Lactose is the sugar found in milk. Adding fruit to it adds natural sweetness and of course the benefits that come with fruit!Weight loss tip:Yogurt has sugar in it and too much sugar is damaging to your weight loss goals. Be mindful of portions and toppings. The wrong toppings will contradict the benefits.
8. Steamed Veggies with Garlic and Parmesan Cheese
Steaming your veggies takes away the need for butter and oil. Adding a little parmesan cheese and garlic gives these veggies a lot of flavor and the benefits found in dairy. Not only are you giving your body two important necessities, you are also going to feel very satisfied for a longer period of time.~ Full recipe here!Weight loss tip:For those that don’t eat dairy, try a drizzle of Italian dressing or, topping it with guacamole. As always, be mindful of portions.
9. Hard Boiled Eggs
Eggs are a great snack for weight loss, especially if boiled without the use of butters and oils. Eggs are packed with protein, low in calories, and have essential vitamins such as B and D. They make for a great weight loss snack because in addition to the nutrients, you will full and satisfied.Weight loss tip:Eggs are high in cholesterol. To reduce the amount of cholesterol intake, avoid eating the yolk. The benefits are in the egg white.
Snacks for vegans
For vegans, eating a vegan diet means that you don’t consume any animal at all- land or sea, and you don’t consume any animal products- land or sea. Vegans eat a plant-based diet consisting mainly of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains.
10. Smoothie Bowl
Smoothies are amazing. You can get your 6 servings of fruits and vegetables in one smoothie! A variation to the norm is a smoothie bowl. Many times, we crave things like ice cream- why not make the healthiest version?Recipe tip:Create your favorite blend and top with fresh fruit chunks, or granola, or coconut flakes, or nut and seed mix.~ More recipe ideas here!Weight loss tip:There is plenty of natural sugar in the fruit and toppings. Be mindful of adding additional sugar.
11. Chia Pudding
Chia seeds are an amazing little seed. They are rich in omega’s, carbohydrates, protein, and fiber. Consuming chia seeds for a snack can really help you achieve weight loss success. You will consume a superfood that will leave you feeling full for hours!Recipe tip:To make chia pudding, simply use a 4 to 1 ratio:1 cup of plant-based milk to 1/4 cup chia seeds; add a little agave for sweetness.Let it sit for a couple of hours, stirring every 15-20 minutes. Make it for the day or make it for the week! Want to add a little flare? Blend some fresh fruit and top!Weight loss tip:Be mindful of the amount of sweetener/sugar used.
12. Baked Peach and Cherry Delight
Fruits and vegetables are key for every diet. This is the way to true health and healthy weight.Peaches contain niacin, folate, iron, choline, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc and copper- they are basically vitamins! Cherries are a wonderful antioxidant; combined you have delicious vitamin that will leave you happy and satisfied.Recipe tip:Simply cut up a few peaches, add half a can of cherry pie filling, and add 3 tablespoons of lemon fruit filling for sweetness. Mix and bake on 350 degrees for about 30-45 minutes.Weight loss tip:Both peaches and cherries are naturally sweet. The lemon fruit filling is sweet as well. No additional sugars or sweeteners necessary.
The bottom line
Remember, fruits and vegetables should be your number one choice for snacking. Be mindful of your choices and remember to try water first.Snacking for weight loss is healthy and can help you reach your weight loss goals fast. Snacking isn’t a negative, if done right, it is all positive!
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