If you’re trying to lose weight (or keep the weight off), one thing you need to control is the urge to have unplanned snacks. You know, when you want to nibble or graze on something while watching TV, or reading a book, or while you’re crunching numbers for your homework, or trying to solve a problem at work. It’s those tiny morsels that can make or break your diet.
Snacking itself is not bad. Sometimes your body does need a little energy boost. The trouble begins when you snack on food that are full of empty calories. So if you feel the need to have some munchies, ditch the potato chips and chocolate bars and substitute the following food items instead.
Have some avocado
If you feel like something rich, creamy and savoury – get an avocado and mix it with some milk or spoonfuls of cottage cheese instead of grabbing a small tub of ice cream from the store. By combining fruit and dairy, you not only get a snack that is rich in fibre, you also increase your protein intake. You’ll end up feeling full and with energy to last until the end of the day.
Pop some popcorn
Popcorn has always been branded as “unhealthy” food however, recent studies have shown that, although popcorn lies in that thin line between junk and not junk food, it has a stronger effect on satisfying hunger than potato chips. Plain popcorn (no butter, salt, caramel or any additional flavoring) has lower calorie count than regular potato chips so it’s a great way to satisfy your craving for junk without worrying too much about gaining chunk.
Havva cuppa coffee
Another “no-no” that’s acceptable provided it’s taken in moderation. Caffeine speeds up the body’s metabolic rate for up to three hours, and causes a greater rate of fat oxidation. However, excessive caffeine also cause a host of other health problems so it is recommended that you take 1-2 cups per day, and ideally, only in the morning.
Go nuts on nuts
Nuts are known to be healthy alternatives to snacks so go nuts on those! Choose plain, healthy nuts and try not to munch on lots. It may sound bizarre but 12 pieces of pistachio nuts is considered a-sized good serving; six pieces for almonds, cashews or mixed nuts; and about 10 for small peanuts.
Give in to temptation …
Your brain works in a funny way – if you keep telling yourself that a particular food items is “Forbidden” your body will crave for it endlessly until you give in and, when that happens, you’ll most likely consume a lot of it in one sitting. Instead of depriving yourself of life’s simple pleasures, allow yourself to have a small treat every so often. But remember to watch your portion sizes, and the frequency. Having 1 small square of chocolate, three times a day, 7 days a week as a treat is NOT the way to do it.
Finally, remember to eat properly and regularly. Starving yourself between small meals two or three times a day is not the way to lose weight nor is it in any way a healthy way of living. By including healthy snacks in your day you’re more likely to lose the extra pounds and make you reach your fitness goals sooner!