There are plenty of weight loss foods and supplements out there, but one aspect of healthy eating often goes overlooked; healthy snacking. Around half of Americans want to lose weight, but more than half who try will quit within the first six months.
Fortunately, with the right tips, it doesn't even have to feel like you're on a diet. Here's what you need to know about choosing healthy snacks for weight loss!
1. Start with the Good Stuff
When we say, "the good stuff", we mean the "good for you" stuff. If you're dying for a quintessential snack item but you're worried about overeating it, try starting with vegetables instead.
Vegetables are the healthiest snack you can have, as they are packed with essential micronutrients and fiber that our bodies absorb best with vegetables. They're also quite volume-heavy and light on calories, so they can fill you up without any guilt!
We're supposed to eat five servings of vegetables every day, but only 9% of adults meet that recommendation. Start small by changing your snacking behaviors and work your way up. Just remember to nix the calorie-dense dips!
2. Think About Calories (to an Extent)
Maintaining a calorie deficit is the only way to lose weight. There is no miracle pill, food, beverage, or supplement that can burn fat on its own.
The average person looking to lose weight should aim for a deficit of 300 to 1000 calories per day. Ideally, this should stay as close as possible to 500, which will burn about a pound of fat per week. This is considered safe weight loss for most people.
For extreme weight loss (above 1000 calories per day), make sure you have approval and supervision from your doctor. Again, this is reserved for severe circumstances.
However, you don't need to overanalyze. Simply learn your maintenance calories and try to read food labels as much as possible. This will give you a good idea of how much you eat throughout the day without driving you crazy.
From there, this should encourage you to choose snacks that are a little less calorie dense. For example, if one piece of your favorite chocolate has 100 calories, and you're used to eating four at a time, you may want to switch to a lower-calorie alternative to snack on.
Other examples include using peanut butter powder instead of full-fat peanut butter. The difference is 50 calories per serving instead of 200 or more, depending on the brand.
Essentially, look for better options as they come, but don't make it your sole priority. Remember, nutrition comes first.
3. Eat Healthier Versions of Snacks You Love
Many people try to change their lifestyles overnight and end up failing as a result. Don't underestimate the importance of enjoying your diet. Whether you're trying to lose or maintain your weight, enjoyment and satisfaction are essential for adherence.
Therefore, you should choose healthier versions of your favorite snacks. One of the easiest changes to make is switching to whole grains instead of enriched grains. Most snack foods are based on a type of grain, such as rice, wheat, or oats.
Enriched grains may have slightly fewer calories per volume, but that isn't the point. Whole grains have so much more nutritional value that it's well worth the change. Try choosing whole-grain options for bread, cereals, or snack foods.
Moreover, whole grains have more flavor than enriched ones. While you may notice the taste difference at first, we promise that, given enough time, you'll grow to prefer whole-grain options! Check out a quick healthy eating guide to learn more.
4. Lower Your Processed Food Intake
We now know that processed foods lead to cancer, dementia, heart disease, obesity, and dozens of other serious health conditions. This isn't too surprising, as our bodies are meant to digest and absorb nutrients from whole foods. The biggest reduction should be from ultra-processed foods such as candy, sugary cereals, and prepackaged cookies or crackers.
Unfortunately, many Americans now get up to two-thirds of their calories from ultra-processed foods. While you don't need to give them up overnight, anything you can do to reduce your intake is well worth the effort.
For example, switching your morning breakfast cereal for oatmeal or overnight oats is a great choice. If you eat fast food regularly, consider opting for grilled chicken or a salad while avoiding fried foods.
When it comes to snacking, head to the kitchen! Making some of your own snacks like crackers, chips, or healthier cookie options is a great step in the right direction if you're used to eating processed foods. If you control the ingredients, then you can make it how you like it and know exactly what you're putting in your body!
There are plenty of recipes worth trying, and you don't have to overcomplicate them. Homemade trail mix or granola is a great way to start, and again, you can make it exactly how you want it!
5. Prepare Your Snacks Ahead of Time
If you only pack healthy snacks with you for work, then that's what you'll eat at work. If you only stock your cabinets with healthy options, then that's what you'll eat at home.
Having healthy snacks and your favorite weight loss supplements readily available will force you to either leave your current activities or eat what's available. It's a simple, yet effective, way to control what you eat throughout the day.
Again, make sure these are foods you enjoy! Otherwise, it's unlikely you'll continue doing this for long.
Choose Healthy Snacks for Weight Loss
Now that you know some tips on choosing healthy snacks for weight loss, put these tips to use for the best results. Weight loss doesn't happen overnight, so it's important to set yourself up for long-term