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Smarter Snacking for Weight Loss

Smarter snacking for weight loss

Snacking, or grazing as it is sometimes called, is an important habit to get right if you are trying to lose weight.

Rather than trying to avoid snacking altogether, learning better snacking habits can actually help you achieve your weight loss goals.

In this article we discuss why and give you some tips to help you to take advantage of the weight loss and other health benefits of healthy snacking.

The Benefits of Healthy Snacking

Snacking throughout the day has many benefits when it comes to helping us lose weight, with the most important being:

  • It helps us burn more calories per day by keeping our blood sugar levels constant and our metabolism ticking over steadily throughout the day
  • It helps prevent us from overeating at lunch and dinner and may even help us to eat smaller portions during these meals
  • It gives us the opportunity to include a wider variety of healthy foods in our diets

If you current snack throughout the day, but snack on foods high in fat and sugar and low in essential vitamins and nutrients to help you lose weight, try these 10 snacking tips:

1. Make sure you are actually hungry.

Are you really hungry or are you bored, lonely or happy? Maybe you just watched a TV ad for chocolate or fast food which has got you thinking of eating. If you aren't really hungry, skip the snack until you are.

Maybe you are thirsty rather than hungry. Since it's easy to confuse the signals for hunger and thirst, try drinking a refreshing glass of water or two before you dig into a snack.

2. Keep your portion sizes small.

Regardless of what snack you choose, make sure you prepare or buy a portion which is just big enough to keep you going until your next meal.

If you choose to eat snacks that are high in fat, sugar, and calories, don't super-size, start with a small serve first and get more later if you're still hungry or go "halves" with a friend.

3. Check the facts about the food you're about to eat.

If you have the chance, check the nutritional information contained on food labels. Look particularly at the total number of calories that your snacks contain, along with levels of sugar and saturated fat.

Your alternative to reading nutritional labels is to have your waistline tell you that you're consuming more calories than you thought you were.

4. Concentrate on eating while you snack.

If you eat while driving, reading or watching TV you may end up overeating and still not feel satisfied. Slowing down your eating and really enjoy your snack; you'll eat less but enjoy more!

5. Eat enough protein.

High protein foods, such as meat, dairy foods, nuts and soy make great snacks and provide vital nutrients to help you build and keep healthy muscles and bones (which are both critical to maximizing weight loss). Want more reasons? High protein foods will also keep you feeling satisfied longer and therefore help you eat less throughout the day.

6. Snack on nuts.

Nuts can be a great snacking choice. A small handful of unsalted, raw or dry roasted nuts can satisfy cravings and provide some super nutrition (including vitamins, minerals, and protein).

7. Eat your veggies.

Vegetables have been called nature's fast food. Very cheap and easy prepare, veggies makes an excellent snack. Keep sliced veggies in your fridge and fill up a small bag with carrot sticks or whatever takes your fancy whenever you head out the door.

8. Put fruit high on your list.

Fruit makes a fantastic snack because as well as being very good for you, most fruits are relatively low in calories, have no fat at all (avocados and olives aside) and are sweet and full of flavour.

Fresh fruit is usually the best option nutritionally, but don't forget that dried or canned fruit is still very good for you and can help you enjoy your favourite fruit even when it is out of season.

If you are regularly in an environment where unhealthy snacks are in abundance and are always tempting you, such as in an office, keep a couple of individual-serve tubs of fruit handy in the fridge or in the top drawer of your desk.

9. Try a liquid snack.

Healthy liquid snacks can be great in-between meal choices. Low-fat milk smoothies made with yoghurt and fruit or fruit cocktails mixed in a blender containing your favourite fruits will keep you energized and feeling full for hours.

If you make a little more than you need for one snack, refrigerate what's left and drink it later that day or the next.

Soft drinks don't make good snack choices if you are trying to lose weight. Sure they may fill you up, but they offer very little except excess sugar, calories and dehydrating caffeine.

10. Fill up on fibre.

As well as being very good for you, fibre may help prevent you from overeating. High-fibre foods take longer to chew and digest, so you feel satisfied longer.

Legumes and grains provide the most fibre per serving. Fruits and vegetables are also good sources, but they usually contain less fibre per serving.

Good fibre snacks include pancakes topped with warm fruit, oatmeal, yoghurt sprinkled with high-fibre cereal, smoothies, fruit and pasta topped with steamed vegetables and beans.

Also remember to check labels for fibre content of packaged goods.

Having more fibre in your diet requires that you drink plenty of water. To keep fibre moving through your digestive system, you need to drink water regularly. Make sure you consume at least eight glasses each day, even more when it is hot or you are active.

So there you have it, 10 suggestions to make snacking work for you in loosing weight and living a happier, healthier lifestyle.

Remember that snacking has many benefits including helping you to achieve your weight loss goals.

Don't avoid snacking, just avoid bad snacking choices and instead, take advantage of adding healthier foods and more variety into your daily diet by consuming nutrient rich, low fat and low sugar snacking options.

Good luck with your weight loss and thanks for visiting weightloss.com.au.

Copyright Ultimate Weightloss.

This article was written by Scott Haywood.

Scott is the editor of weightloss.com.au. Scott has developed an expertise in fitness and nutrition, and their roles in weight loss, which led him to launch weightloss.com.au in 2005. Today, weightloss.com.au provides weight loss and fitness information, including hundreds of healthy recipes, weight loss tools and tips, articles, and more, to millions of people around the world, helping them to lead happier, healthier, lives.

You can follow Scott on Google+ for more interesting articles.

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