If you’re trying to lose weight, the first dietary change you’ll need to make is to eat healthy. Does that mean give up snacks? Nope! Snacking isn’t cheating if you do it right.
Depending on the eating plan you follow, you might consider the number and timing of your daily meals as a key to weight loss. Actually, it might not matter much if you eat five times a day, three square meals, or space out your meals but add in some snacks.
How much you take in at the end of the day, week and month—that is, how much nourishment from protein, fat, carbs and calories—will ultimately matter more than how many meals. Whether you are following a plan to promote weight loss, fat loss, muscle gain or simply general fitness, you will need to eat healthy to fuel your body and avoid splurging to satisfy hunger pangs.
Just a little bit of planning can help you make the most of your snack time! You’ll want to avoid impulsive food choices and temptations that can steer you off track, no matter what diet you’re following. Here are a few fast and easy options to consider:
KALE CHIPS (a low calorie superfood)
Due to high levels of vitamins A, C and K, kale chips are often among the top snack suggestions of health and wellness gurus who recognize the value of superfoods. Kale is known for its vitamin, mineral and fiber content, and when baked into chips, kale becomes a portable, tasty snack.
Kale is also a great source of antioxidants like quercetin and kaempferol, which have been linked to decreased blood pressure and colon cancer risk. A one-cup serving of kale chips prepared with olive oil and sea salt provides just 150 calories.
NUTS (for protein, fat and fiber)
Raw tree nuts are chock-full of healthy protein and fiber. They are high in fat, yes, but this is the type of healthy fats that can not only fill you up, but can also help you lose weight.
Many nutrition experts single out almonds and walnuts as leading choices, ranking them at the top of healthy snack options that require no preparation. A one-ounce serving of almonds delivers 4 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein and 165 calories.
STUFFED CELERY STICKS (texture, taste and variety)
Celery becomes a favorite childhood treat, “ants on a log,” stuffed with peanut butter and raisins, and provides a happy dose of protein, fiber and fun. Avoiding legumes? Substitute almond, cashew or sunflower butter.
If you’re counting calories or cutting fat, stuff celery with a low-fat cream cheese instead. For a crunchy vegan treat, stuff with spicy hummus. Celery contains close to zero calories, and the antioxidant luteolin, which is tied to reduced inflammation.
PROTEIN SNACKS (for post-workout and on the go)
For maximum convenience, grab a packaged protein treat after your workout. When you find the flavors you crave, pre-packaged protein products could be the easiest snack choice ever! Beware, though, as not all protein snacks are created equal, so read those labels with an eye on grams of sugar, and look for more natural ingredients.
Our variety at XSport Fitness includes a range of tasty bars featuring complete protein and minimal net carbs and sugar, perfect for a recovery snack. For something savory, try Quest Protein Chips, or for a fruity snack that might surprise you, try an all-natural Smart Tart, just like the toaster tarts of your youth. Be sure to check out our variety next time you’re at the gym!