Snacking can either be your savior or your worst enemy when you're attempting to lose weight. Healthy, appropriately portioned snacks consumed at the right time can actually support healthy weight by helping to maintain an efficient metabolic rate and stable blood sugar levels. Improved energy levels, fewer cravings and a sense of satisfaction can all set you up for weight-loss success.
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Portion Size and Calorie Count
The basic formula of calories in vs. calories out is still the foundation for understanding weight loss. The bottom line is that if you are consuming more calories than you need, you will gain weight. Snacking between meals can help you to avoid getting overly hungry and eating too much at the next meal. So snacks need to be considered when planning your day to ensure that they can fit in without making you consume excess calories. One way to do this is to portion out your snacks in advance. A realistic goal is about 100 calories per snack, twice a day.
Load Up on Fiber
Increasing your daily fiber intake can facilitate your weight-loss goals. Fiber can help you feel full and satisfied with fewer calories. Consuming foods that are high in fiber, especially with a glass of water fills you up, along with the many other benefits of fiber, including helping support a healthy digestive and cardiovascular system. Fruits and vegetables are the best sources as they provide the most nutrition with the least calories. Apples, berries, melon, plums, peaches, oranges, carrots, celery, cucumbers, bell peppers and tomatoes are all quick, convenient, nutrient-dense, tasty snack options that will fill you up and help support your weight-loss goals.
Protein is an important part of any weight-loss plan. Protein supports muscle tissue, which can be broken down when trying to lose weight. Including snacks that are good sources of protein will help you to feel fuller longer as protein takes longer to digest. Protein will also support a healthy metabolic rate as it takes more energy to digest. Some convenient high-protein snacks are plain Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, string cheese, a fruit smoothie with a scoop of protein powder or a few slices of low-sodium turkey or chicken.
Many people think that to lose weight, you must cut the fat from your diet. Researchers have come a long way in understanding the important role that fat plays in your body, including metabolism. It is now known that what is most important to health is the type of fat that is consumed. Including healthy unsaturated fats in your weight-loss plan can be beneficial by keeping you feeling more satisfied for longer. Good snack ideas are a handful of almonds, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter on some celery or a few slices of avocado and tomato. Just remember, fat is calorie-dense, so the portion size needs to be closely monitored.