It feels good to chew on something, especially to carry on in between meals, or when just bored at home watching Netflix.
Or maybe it’s tea time at work and you’re feeling peckish and could go for a light pick-me-up before the meeting at 11.
Nutrition is one aspect that is interweaved with our lives; it’s the TOTALITY of your lifestyle is what leads you to where you are on a weight loss journey. Picking a point such as snacking is a strategy that can help a long way because it’s a commonly overlooked potential Achilles heel.
Having filling nutritious meals will reduce the urge to snack in between so it’s simply another alternative. Cover your bases (main meals) so you don’t need to snack. This requires an element of meal prep and might be easier than having to hassle about snacking.
So let’s get into it. We have to play devils advocate here because nothing is ever truly bad or good. It just depends on whether it’s serving you or not.
To Snack Or Not To Snack, That Is The Question
Snacking adds up calories to your daily total, and usually quantities are not measured. In the context where one has full meals, snacking especially when unchecked and taken in an automatic fashion tends to overshoot total calorie intake.
When keeping in mind our struggle with weight loss and not seeing results, its the small things that we tend to gloss over that actually contribute the most and have the ability to swing in our favour.
Reducing your snacking will help if you tend to snack on cookies, cakes daily or even regularly. One lady I was talking to says she has chips (french fries) everyday at tea time yet she was struggling to lose weight.
Any idea where a starting point for her could be? Even before dwelling into the rest of her dietary habits.
Snacking the wrong way could be worse than snacking at all. In this case, cutting out meals in between will likely help especially if there are no available healthier snacks available.
If all you have are ultra processed foods available and you’re having issues with your weight, it might benefit you to reduce your intake. Decrease from 5x a week to 2-3x a week and eventually zero.
An Argument For Snacking
On the other hand, snacking is a way we can use to alleviate our hunger between meals, especially for those with busy working hours and little time for proper meals in between.
Commonly if we leave too much time in between meals we tend to overeat – fill up our plate more than usual and eat beyond satiety (11/10 on the hunger scale – you can even get the “itis”). Or when we get home without having had lunch, we grab the easiest quickest food to bite – usually packaged or something we can heat up in the microwave quickly.
This is where having a healthy filling snack would keep you full until the next meal.
The Best Snacks For You
- Medium apple and 1 tbs of any nut butter eg peanut butter, almond butter
- A boiled egg
- A handful of nuts – ie ~ 15 almonds/macadamia/cashew nuts
- Beef jerky/biltong
- A single serving of yoghurt
- Raw carrot sticks
- A cup of coffee/tea
- A small bowl of air popped popcorn
- 500ml of cool refreshing water (You may be dehydrated and think it’s hunger.)
The list above are the preferences I would recommend to someone who likes to snack or needs to due to time, their job etc. They are based on being higher in fibre, protein or nutrient dense in varying combinations.
If you can nail that, then snacking will be a helping hand towards your goal of losing weight. If you can’t however, rather than indulging in Jane’s freshly made cookies she brings everyday to the office, you might have to put in more effort in your main meals as mentioned at the beginning.
Are your snacks your downfall? Do an inventory on your dietary habits and you’ll probably find out what needs to change.
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