We all know the feeling. You’ve started a new healthy eating plan and have had a good breakfast of low-fat yogurt and fresh fruit. Less than an hour later, you’re stomach is growling and you have wolfed down a couple of donuts or some candy bars.
Most of us tend to feel guilty about snacking and believe that it leads to weight gain. Many fad diets such as the Military Diet or the HCG diet promote three strict, calorie-reduced meals with absolutely nothing in-between.
Does snacking lead to Weight Gain?
There has long been the opinion in the medical weight loss world, that snacking in between meals may lead to weight gain. However, a new research study suggests that snacking, ‘may play a role in weight control’. Furthermore, snacking on healthy food can boost daily nutritional intake. The study examined overweight, postmenopausal women and found that the women who had at least two snacks a day, compared to one or less, had a higher fiber intake. Those that snacked in the afternoon had a higher fruit and vegetable intake too boosting their vitamin and mineral input. However, this study concluded that snacking patterns may also reflect unhealthy eating habits and obstruct weight-loss programs.
Healthy Snacks and Diet success
It is the quality of the snack that will help in your weight loss efforts. Going for long periods of time without eating and then having a high carbohydrate or high sugar snack can play havoc with your blood sugar levels, leading to wild swings and feelings of hunger. A healthy, balanced snack will do just the opposite and help keep blood sugar levels stable, keep energy levels high, curb hunger pangs and boost your overall nutritional health. Another bonus of switching to healthy snack food if you have children is that our suggestions will prove a great, healthy snack for kids too and add to a balanced child diet.
Does it matter what time of day you Snack?
There are mixed opinions relating to the time of the day that you snack – some studies have shown that it makes no difference what time of day you snack whilst others have demonstrated that night-time eating leads to weight gain. Indeed, some scientific studies have demonstrated that eating late at night may lead to skipping breakfast which can lead to over-eating and cravings the next day. However, one study has shown that weight loss in mid-morning snackers was lower than those that had snacks in the afternoon.
Top Ten Healthy Snacks
Make snack time healthy with Sweet Potato chips or fries.
Swap your salty chips from the vend machine for some healthy homemade sweet potato chips. Sweet potato is one of the healthiest foods on the planet full of Vitamin A, vitamin C, B vitamins and an excellent source of fiber. For sweet potato chips, simply peel and thinly slice the sweet potatoes, place on some baking paper, spray with a little olive oil and microwave for 4 – 5 minutes until the edges are a little curled. Likewise you can easily substitute sweet potatoes for the normal potato and make some healthier fries.
Likewise, seeds are an easy snack and nutritionally excellent as well as having proven health benefits. Choose from chia, hemp or the pumpkin seed. Rich in antioxidants, fiber, protein and antioxidants seeds are just so good for you. Remember to always eat seeds raw to reap the full health benefits. You can buy seeds and nuts at your local grocery store.
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Recent Diet Posts
- Gluck ME, Venti CA, Salbe AD, Krakoff J. (2008) Nighttime eating: commonly observed and related to weight gain in an inpatient food intake study..Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Oct;88(4):900-5. (Retrieved January 16th 2016)
- Jukanti AK, Gaur PM, Gowda CL, Chibbar RN.(2012) Nutritional quality and health benefits of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.): a review. Br J Nutr. 2012 Aug;108 Suppl 1:S11-26. doi: 10.1017/S0007114512000797. (Retrieved August 24th 2016)
- Kinsey AW, Ormsbee1 MJ. (2015) The Health Impact of Nighttime Eating: Old and New Perspectives Nutrients. 2015 Apr; 7(4): 2648–2662. (Retrieved August 24th 2016)
- Kong A, Beresford S, Alfano CM, Foster-Schubert KE, Neuhouser ML, Johnson DB. (2011) Associations between snacking and weight loss and nutrient intake among postmenopausal overweight-to-obese women in a dietary weight loss intervention J Am Diet Assoc. 2011 Dec; 111(12): 1898–1903. (Retrieved August 24th 2016)
- Leidy HJ, Tang M, Armstrong CL, Martin CB, Campbell WW. (2011) The effects of consuming frequent, higher protein meals on appetite and satiety during weight loss in overweight/obese men. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 Apr;19(4):818-24 (Retrieved August 24th 2016) >
- Malik VS, Schulze MB, Hu FB. (2008) Intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain: a systematic review Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Aug; 84(2): 274–288. (Retrieved August 24th 2016)
- Munsters MJ, Saris WH. (2016) Effects of Meal Frequency on Metabolic Profiles and Substrate Partitioning in Lean Healthy Males PLoS One. 2012; 7(6): e38632. (Retrieved August 24th 2016)
- Ohkawara K, Cornier M-A, Kohrt WM, Melanson EL. (2013) Effects of Increased Meal Frequency on Fat Oxidation and Perceived Hunger Obesity (Silver Spring). 2013 Feb; 21(2): 336–343. (Retrieved August 24th 2016) <
- Piehowski KE, Preston AG, Miller DL, Nickols-Richardson SM. (2008) A reduced-calorie dietary pattern including a daily sweet snack promotes body weight reduction and body composition improvements in premenopausal women who are overweight and obese: a pilot study. J Am Diet Assoc. 2011 Aug;111(8):1198-203.(Retrieved August 24th 2016)
- Ros E, Hu FB. (2013) Consumption of Plant Seeds and Cardiovascular Health: Epidemiologic and Clinical Trial Evidence
Circulation. 2013 Jul 30; 128(5): 553–565.(Retrieved September 5th 2016)