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’.
Thus, 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.
Furthermore, 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 seems like it is the quality of the snack that will help in your weight loss efforts.
Noteworthy, is that 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.
Therefore, 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.
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
Here is a bit of a surprise ‘healthy’ snack
Make snack time healthy with Sweet Potato chips or fries.
Certainly think about swapping your salty chips from the vend machine for some healthy homemade sweet potato chips. Incidentally, 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. Perfect for vegans and vegetarians too. Likewise, you can easily substitute sweet potatoes for the normal potato and make some healthier fries.
Cookie-Dough Greek yogurt Snack
You must get into Hummus
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.
Take a Protein Snack
A couple of slices of white meat such as turkey, chicken or fish or a hard-boiled egg are low in calories but high in nutritional content. Medical research studies have shown that choosing snacks that are rich in protein content stop feelings of hunger and aids weight loss. Up to one third of US women do not get their daily recommended amount of protein so grab a high-protein easy snack.
Non-fat Chocolate Pudding Cup
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- 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)
- 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)