5 Smarter Snacking Strategies for Weight Loss

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5 Smarter Snacking Strategies for Weight Loss

Snacking is sometimes a bad word in the weight-loss community, but that’s only if you’re munching on sugary, carb-heavy foods throughout the day (we’re looking at you, mini muffins). Smart snacking, on the other hand, can help you control your cravings, fill up on important nutrients and maintain your energy levels. Try these five strategies to help you crush your cravings.

1. FIGURE OUT IF YOU’RE ACTUALLY HUNGRY

Before you head to the pantry on autopilot, it’s important to figure out whether you’re really hungry or just, say, craving sugar because you saw a recipe on Facebook for Oreo brownies. Before you snack, ask yourself whether you’d be willing to eat a piece of fruit or some sliced veggies to curb your hunger, says to dietitian Amy Gorin, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in Jersey City, New Jersey. “If the answer is ‘no,’ then you’re probably not actually hungry,” she says. If that’s the case, make a cup of tea or sip a glass of water with sliced lemon or cucumber instead — you’ll satisfy your oral fixation without consuming unnecessary calories.  

2. FILL UP ON PROTEIN AND FIBER

If you’re going to snack, make it count. Dietitian Jennifer Glockner of Smartee Plate says it’s important to nosh on foods that combine protein and fiber, since they help promote satiety while also supplying your body with vital nutrients. Try hard-boiled eggs, unsalted nuts, edamame or apple slices drizzled with almond butter. Glockner also suggests sunflower-seed butter on whole-grain crackers, hummus with pepper slices or plain Greek yogurt topped with berries or cucumbers.

“These snacks will [help] prevent [you from] overeating at the next meal or snacking too much on energy-dense foods like cookies and chips,” she says. For more healthy snack ideas, check out this list of 12 delicious high-protein snacks under 210 calories.


READ MORE > THE 11 MOST COMMON WEIGHT-LOSS BLUNDERS DIETITIANS SEE


3. PLAN YOUR SNACKS AHEAD OF TIME

If you have a stash of healthy, tasty snacks on hand, you’ll be less likely to reach for a pastry or bag of chips when you hit that afternoon slump. “Hungry people tend to grab the first foods in sight, usually foods high in fat and calories, and often in excessive quantities,” says Glockner. That’s why she recommends preparing your snacks in advance. Chop veggies and fruit, pour nuts in a Ziploc bag or whip up a green smoothie to stick in the freezer. This is also a smart way to pre-portion food so you’re not overeating.

4. KEEP FRUIT IN PLAIN SIGHT

A study published in the Journal of Health Education and Behavior suggests you’re most likely to eat whatever is most visible in your home. That’s why Gorin recommends storing fruit in a bowl on your kitchen countertop or desk so you always have something healthy to reach for.

5. DON’T EAT IN FRONT OF YOUR SCREEN

Research shows that eating while distracted makes you more likely to ignore your body’s satiety signals and, thus, overeat. Instead of scrolling through Instagram or watching YouTube as you snack, step away from your gadgets. Limiting these external distractions is key to eating mindfully, rather than mindlessly, Glockner explains: “It’s important to sit down to a meal without distractions, slow down, savor every bite and listen to [your] body cues and satiety signals to prevent overeating and subsequent weight gain.”

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  • Winnie Tsang

    I know it is better to eat without any distraction, but what if you are eating on your own? I feel a little silly no doing anything while eating my lunch at my desk or in the canteen. I do go out for a walk after eating.

    • Greg Dahlen

      i do think to lose weight you have to be willing to do things sometimes that feel silly. anyway when you just sit there eating, you’re not doing nothing, you’re thinking, you’re looking around, you’re eating……

  • Greg Dahlen

    well for about nine years i’ve been living about 90% on fluid milk products, cow milk and cow cream. so every day more than 90% of my diet is some kind of milk–whole, 2%, 1%, skim–plus i occasionally buy pints of half-and-half or fluid whipping cream and drink them straight. i’m not sure but i think this diet helps a person lose weight. for one thing these products get into your system faster than solid food so they sate your hunger faster. then also they’re mostly zero-calorie water.

    lately one interesting thing is when i’m out for a walk i’ll bend over and tear off some grass if i’m walking past a lawn and eat that—i know some people say you can’t digest grass but i enjoy the taste and texture and imagine you can at least digest some of its components–it comes from my interest in cows and milk and cows eating grass…..

    i have gone from 255 pounds to 165 and maintained (i’m six feet one inch)

    i want to say this diet has not been approved by any medical authority as safe or healthy for human beings–but it has worked for me and i don’t think my body is too different from a lot of people’s….it does help that 10% of my diet is not fluid milk products which gives me some variety……

    i think when you live largely on milk it does have the effect that people say where you take in small amounts of nutrition throughout the day….spread out more than eating three solid meals…..