When you are dieting, healthy snacks for weight loss are as important as your regular meals.
You must be thinking how snacks are important and healthy for losing weight? First, let us look at what a snack is; a snack is a light meal or food eaten between regular meals of the day. They can come in different forms such as packaged and processed snacks, as well as food made from fresh ingredients at home.
Why we grab unhealthy snacks?
Even before presenting a list of healthy snacks, we would like you to know why you always end up eating a bag of chips when feeling hungry? Why unhealthy snacks are your go-to resort in between meals.
Hunger is obviously the primary reason for snacking, but there are other factors, involving social setting, time of day and access to food. In reality, people sometimes snack even when they’re not hungry because they crave for food.
During one study, when participants with obesity were asked why they choose to eat unhealthy snacks, boredom was the most common response, followed by cravings, hunger and low energy levels. Furthermore, the urge for snacking seems to be highly individualized. Age is one of the factors influencing snacking.
Another study found that boredom, stress or being fed up were reasons for snacking in about 26% of the cases.
Snacks can play a significant part in your diet even though snacking in general has mixed opinions or a bad reputation. They can deliver energy in the middle of the day or when you exercise.
A healthy snack can also reduce your hunger and prevent you from over-eating at meals. For anyone who wants to see their weight drop, it can be challenging to choose healthy snacks.
Healthy Snacks Ideas:
Rather than making you gain weight, healthy snack ideas can actually supplement your diet for weight loss. Nutritious munchies will help you stay fulfilled between courses, reducing the chances of feeling ravenous or engaging in unhealthy cravings. A healthy snack can also quench the food drives and prevent starvation, allowing you to ignore junk food.
Sarah Pflugradt , RD, nutrition expert and author of You Get One Body, suggests that you should reach for a snack with about 200 to 250 calories, about 10 grams of protein and five grams of fiber. This amount is enough to fill you up and let you refrain from going over the board. Indeed, protein and fiber blend will help you stay satisfied until your next meal.
Fruits are God sent snacks for us humans that mainly have low levels of calories and high levels of fiber packed with vitamins and other nutrients. They naturally help you lose weight. Fruits can lower the risk of many diseases a body can experience like cancer, hypertension, blood sugar problems, high blood pressure, and heart illnesses.
Healthy fruit snacks:
One of the nature’s best natural snacks that are incidentally sweet as well are fruits. However, not all fruits are equal . Below is a list of great fruits that can double as your healthy snacks.
Also known as Shaddock, it is usually related with dieting. 52 calories are available in half a grapefruit but provides 69 mg of reference daily intake of vitamin C. It has a comparatively small amount of glycemic index of about 25, meaning that sugar is released more slowly into your blood circulation.
A low glycemic diet can help to sustain weight. A study conducted in 91 obese patients, consuming grapefruit as a solid or as a liquid prior meal for twelve weeks resulted in a 7.1 percent decline in their weight , a drop in calorie consumption, and an improvement in cholesterol levels.
One word of advice is that grapefruit is known to have interactions with a lot of medicines, therefore, check with your doctor before starting to eat it on a regular basis if you are taking regular medicines.
Apples are a popular healthy snack options and known for assisting weight loss as they are known to be low in fat. One serving, or one medium apple, provides about 95 calories, 0 grams fat, 1 gram protein, 25 grams carbohydrate, 19 grams sugar, and 3 grams fiber.
An apple is almost three times as filling as a chocolate bar.
In a study, individual women were given 3 oat biscuits, 3 apples, or 3 pears, with the equal amounts of calories, per day for 10 weeks. The apple group lost 2 pounds (0.91 kg) and the pear group 1.6 pounds (0.73 kg), while the third group’s pounds remained unchanged.
Apples are better eaten solid, rather than being blended into a juice, to control hunger and control appetite.
Due to bananas being high in sugar, they are usually avoided when trying to lose weight. While they are more calorie dense than the rest of the fruits, they are more nutrient-dense as well because they supply potassium, magnesium, fiber, multiple antioxidants and vitamin A, B6 and C.
Bananas are 75% water, 23% carbohydrates, and 1% protein. Both blood sugar and cholesterol level are reduced if you eat a banana per day.
Oranges are not only filling but are also low in calories while high in vitamin C and fiber. Even though they are more commonly consumed through drinking, studies show that oranges are better to be eaten solid rather than as a beverage. Oranges are four times more filling than a croissant.
They can be enjoyed cubed as it is or in a salad. Melons are a great summer drink and can be easily blended into smoothies or frozen into fruit popsicles. Although melons are low in calories, they are rich in fiber, potassium and antioxidants, like vitamin C, beta-carotene and lycopene.
It makes them weight loss friendly because they have high water content. However, portion control is vital because watermelon has a high glycemic index (GI).
Fresh or frozen, they can be enjoyed either way. For breakfast, they can be added to cereal or yogurt, mixed in a nutritious smoothie, included in breads or thrown into a salad.
A small study revealed that people eating berries of about 65 calories at a meal ended up eating less food than those eating sweets with the same number of calories. Berries significantly reduce cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and reduce inflammation, which helps people with obesity in particular.
Stone fruit is any fruit with a stone inside, often called a drupe. Stone fruit examples are peaches, plums, lychees, mangoes, almonds, apricots and cherries. Peaches and apricots in particular are high in vitamins A and C, fiber and potassium.
Such fruits are remarkably low in fat, calories and sugar, making them useful as healthy snacks for weight loss. You can also satisfy your sugar cravings because of their sweet flavor. You can add them to your salads, mix them in a gruel, or even fry them and add them to your dishes however you like.
Healthy Junk Food Snacks:
“I’m going to have to stop with the junk food, right?” Wrong! While junk food should be eaten in moderation, it can also have a healthy place in any diet if it is managed properly. Sure, indulging from time to time can actually be helpful in losing those unpleasant pounds. We know it’s nearly impossible to cut down this habit.
Here’s a reminder for you that you have options for healthy junk food snacks, as discouraging you to stop eating junk altogether would not be fair and counterproductive to loss efforts.
Popcorn — For someone trying to quit potato chips and Cheetos, it’s a decent alternative, but it’s not exactly diet food. Nonetheless, the item is filled with fiber and polyphenols that are antioxidants that can defend against heart disease and some cancers.
Research actually reveals that popcorn has the highest levels of polyphenol in all junk foods. Use pure corn kernels instead of prepared movie theater popcorn if you can. Sprinkle on nutritional yeast for a healthy, cheesy bite and get an added boost of vitamin B12.
Dark Chocolate — Chocolate is truly full of sugar and calories, but dark chocolate is a lot healthier. It is low in calories and sugar and it will not do as much damage to your weight loss as a normal chocolate will.
Dark chocolate slows the signs of aging, lowers your blood pressure, reduces the risk of diabetes, helps control blood sugar, it is also rich of vital vitamins and minerals, it increases the blood flow to the brain and heart, contains anti-depressant agents, reduces stress and lowers your cholesterol levels. However, if eaten in excess it can lead to problems controlling your weight.
Oven Baked Chips — If you’re worried about fried chips, eat chips cooked in the oven. They are nutritious and their fat content is good. If you prepare them at home, choose them over deep-fried chips and fry them in olive oil.
One ounce (about 15 chips) of baked potato chips has 14% fewer calories, 50% less fat and 67% less saturated fat than traditional potato chips. Baked chips can be a part of your diet but only as an occasional treat!
Mars Pretzel MandM’s – The blue MandM’s are a life saver for people who are trying to cut back on weight. This variation substitutes the original center of milk chocolate with a pretzel that is low in calories by the standards of confectionery.
Ice-Cream – We know we all enjoy ice cream in any kind of weather. But how can ice cream help you maintaining that weight or cutting down those pounds? Ice cream is a mineral source, such as calcium and phosphorus.
As we know, calcium is important to our strong bones and lowers kidney stone chances. It comprises A, B6, B12, C, D, E and K vitamins. Ice cream not only has nutritional benefits, it is also an excellent source of energy. Whereas ice cream is rich in carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, it may not be 100% good for someone with diabetes, but for our bodies to produce energy, this nutrition is required.
But remember, in MODERATION, everything! Eating ice cream can also eliminate mood swings and PMS as it activates the brain and improves the happiness hormone and decreases stress levels.
Healthy snacks for work:
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with some snack ideas you can take to work so you can stay productive and energized. These ideas are easily prepared, portable and most important of all… healthy! Here are our six healthy home made snacks for work that you can count on.
Peanut Butter With Apples – Apple slices dipped in peanut butter create a snack that is tasty and fulfilling. Peanut butter, although apples have high value of water and fiber, provides protein and healthy fats, making them especially satisfying. Actually, one apple has more than 4g of fiber and is about 85% water.
Granola Bars – Granola bars are a good and quick bite to eat right inside your bag or one of your kitchen cabinets. These bars contain ingredients such as rice, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, honey, coconut, chocolate chips, brown sugar, and sometimes puffed rice.
Typically, it is baked until its crisp and golden brown. It is a healthy, balanced and rich mix of polysaccharides, healthy fats and fiber. Additionally, the fiber in oats is easily dissolvable which leads to better cholesterol levels and boost your heart health.
While most store-bought options are heavy in sugars and carry harmful vegetable oils that can raise your body’s inflammation, creating your bar is better. Here’s how you can do that – In a mixture of melted coconut oil and honey, simply add rolled oats, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries and cashews, spread the mixture on a lined baking sheet and bake at low flame for only about 40 minutes.
Baked Vegetable Chips – Making homemade chips with the combination of vegetables enables you to regulate the ingredients that you are using. You can add whichever vegetable you like to your baked chips, just remember to slice them up real nice and spray with some of coconut oil or olive oil, whichever is easily available to you. Bake at 225 ° F (110 °C) for about 2 hours on a thinly lined cookie sheet.
Oatmeal Energy Balls — There are two types of energy balls; you can either bake them or make the no bake energy balls. The best part is that you can choose from a variety of recipes to make these. They are rich in calcium, fiber and several vitamins and minerals depending on the ingredients. There are plenty of recipes for Oatmeal Energy balls available online or in cookbooks.
The Hummus and Carrot Combo — Hommos or more commonly known as Hummus is a scrumptious dip crafted of chickpeas, tahini, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice, which goes well with carrots. This is among the easiest healthy snacks recipes. It provides healthy fats, proteins and fiber, while carrots load your body with pro-vitamin A , a complement to vitamin A. Eating beta-carotene items can boost immunity and promote optimum eye and vision safety.
Nuts With Dark Chocolate – Dark chocolate, specifically, is dense in antioxidants that can battle free radicals that kill cells and are associated with diverse incurable diseases. In addition, it’s satisfying because nuts are full of protein and healthy fats. It’s a safe, sweet treat at the office that you can enjoy.
Healthy snacks for weight loss at night:
Late night snacking is one of the top reasons for weight gain. It is linked with your sleeping habits. So, primarily you should try to optimize your sleep for weight loss. But in case you still struggle, you can grab low carb late-night snacks when you really cannot keep your hands off them.
You’ve heard about the Keto diet, we’re sure. If you haven’t that, we’ve covered that too! Instead of carbs, the keto diet is based on fat as the main source of calories. The body stops depending on glucose from carbohydrates as the sole source of energy while on keto diet, which takes you into a state of fat-burning called ketosis. This diet plan also recommends some late-night low-carb snacks that help you lose weight.
Here are some late-night low-carb snack ideas that will help you lose weight or hold it.
Yogurt and Cucumber — Here’s a savory way to eat your yogurt. For 1 cup of cooling cucumber spears, use a cup of low-fat, plain yogurt as a creamy dip. This adds up to 10 grams of carbs and a cravings-satisfying mega-dose (21 grams) of protein.
Celery and Peanut Butter — Celery contains a dietary fiber that enhances the loss of weight and digestion. Dehydration is further avoided by the high percentage of water and electrolytes in celery, which also prevents bloating. Using 2 tablespoons of organic-style peanut butter to fill two medium celery stalks for a nibble, with only 10 grams of carb.
Hard boiled Egg — Hard boiled eggs are a perfect source of high-quality protein and rich in vitamin B, zinc, and calcium. It is a food that is low in calories and dense in nutrients. It is the simplest way to reduce your daily calorie intake and serves as a great healthy snack for weight loss.
Apple and Cheese – Cheese goes with apples deliciously. If you haven’t already tried, it’s a must-eat. For about 10 grams of carbs, pair a cup of apple slices with an ounce of mozzarella cheese. Not only will it fulfill your sweet and salt cravings, it will also get into your stomach a mix of protein, fiber and fat.
Healthy snacks on the go:
When you are really running hungry and don’t have any time to prepare all the healthy snacks, here are some healthy on-th-go snacks that you can grab in no time and much your food cravings away, healthy style!
Hard-boiled Egg — As mentioned before, a hard-boiled egg is not only a low-carb snack but also one of the best on the go snacks.
Almonds — Almonds deliver many nutrients and are loaded with antioxidants. They are high in vitamin E and can manage your cholesterol level.
Baby Carrots — This easy snack is full of beta carotene. Beta carotene is converted into vitamin A by the body which makes your immune system better.
Berries or Grapes — According to the survey of 124,000 people over 24 years, those who consumed a daily portion of grapes, berries, or cherries put no weight on for two decades and became much slimmer.
Mixed Nuts — We believe it is best to have a handful of mixed nuts rather than a bag of chips. It’s something to ponder over. Mixed nuts consist of zinc, vitamin E, calcium and magnesium. Here’s a plus point, our bodies don’t consume all the fat in nuts, but they absorb nutrients.
The Bottom Line:
When you are ready to lose weight, you can easily find and make nutritious meals and snacks. Healthy snacks for weight loss actually exist. However, you must know enough to have realistic expectations and nothing happens overnight! You need focus, determination, social support and a weight loss strategy to follow.