What Are The Best Snacks For Weight Loss?
Healthy snacks can serve the dual purpose of keeping you going between meals and giving you the feeling you’ve indulged a little without ruining your diet plan. Whether it is a protein-rich split-pea spread on whole grain toast, a tangy soup, a fiber-rich homemade trail mix, a nutrient and antioxidant packed sweet treat of grilled fruit with cinnamon, or a hearty faux Thai noodle salad made from zucchini - snacking on a weight loss plan doesn’t have to be boring!
Weight loss can be a nightmare if you deny yourself tasty food and you’re bound to crack at some point. Eating small, healthy snacks between meals can help keep you from cheating and supply you with the nutrients your body needs. You just need to know how!
Protein-Rich Snacks To Keep You Full
Protein based snacks are a good idea if you’re trying to ward off hunger pangs. Research has proven that protein keeps you feeling full for longer, something that can make all the difference if you’re trying to lose weight. Because you feel more full on the same calories, you are less likely to binge or graze between meals or designated snack time. And you’ll end the day with less calories overall if you plan it right.1
- Japanese favorite edamame beans are easy to prepare, just steam some, sprinkle salt over and enjoy.
- A hard boiled egg tossed together with some fresh greens, tomatoes, and a squeeze of lime and fresh-cracked pepper can be delicious and hearty.
- Roll up some thinly sliced lean protein turkey around vegetables, and dunk in a fresh spicy chilli dip that uses the capsinoids in the chili peppers to burn fat.2
Filling Fiber-Rich Snacks
High fiber foods are heart healthy, lower blood pressure, and bring down cholesterol levels too.3 Plus, they keep you feeling full for longer.4
- Roast some fiber rich vegetables in your oven – artichokes or sweet potatoes or even green beans are a good choice.
- Make some hummus from fiber-rich beans and legumes or a split-pea spread for something unusual.
- Chickpeas roasted with spices also make a tasty fiber-rich snack.
Get In More Omega-3
Omega-3 fatty acids help modulate appetite and can help you with weight loss by increasing the feeling of satiety after a meal or snack.5
- Flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, or walnuts, all rich in the nutrient are an easy to consume snack that can give you the fun of a something “munchable” with the added benefits of being good for you too. Add in some spice when you roast them to up the flavor quotient.
- Salmon, tuna, or sardines are another option if you’re feeling very hungry – just be sure to watch your portion size and calories, because this is a snack and not a meal. Roll up some tuna salad in thinly sliced cucumber if you’re feeling fancy, or just enjoy some with a wholewheat cracker.6
The Right Carbs
If you feel the need for a carb-laden snack to give you the energy you need, pick resistant starch over refined carbs that your body will burn through too quickly. This kind of starch keeps you feeling full longer and may help improve insulin sensitivity.7
- Even that larder staple, the potato, is healthier when it is chilled and made into a salad so it becomes resistant starch and can help reduce body fat.8
- Beans and legumes, as well as wholegrains are other sources. Make up a delicious hummus-style dip using the legumes and dunk fresh vegetable crudites in them or use it as a spread on wholegrain toast.
- Sweet potatoes are another option, cut them into thick fries and roast them in the oven, with some heart healthy garlic added for good measure.
Optimize Those Calories With Fresh Fruit And Veg!
Why not try and hit some of those targets for your daily nutrient intake while you fill up on a delicious snack?
Kale chips made in your oven with little to no oil(use an olive oil spray to prevent the leaves from sticking) are delicious and give you the nutritional benefits of this dark green leafy veg too! A cup full of kale has just 8 calories and is rich in calcium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate. It is also anti-inflammatory and rich in antioxidants which is good for warding off a host of health problems including cardiovascular disease.9
Faux Noodles With Zucchini
Faux noodles with zucchini makes a hearty snack in warmer weather. Just use a food processor to churn out thin noodles of zucchini which you can dress with a tangy spicy thai style vinaigrette with ginger that lowers hepatic fat10, fat busting red chillies 11, diuretic parsley to ease bloating12, antioxidant rich lime juice, and sprinkle on some sesame for crunch and an omega-3 boost.
Apples with cinnamon sprinkled over toasted ever so lightly on your grill or in the oven feels like a cheat even though it isn’t! The sweet warming cinnamon can lower blood pressure and cut inflammation13 and the apples help reduce fat absorption by your body courtesy the pectin they contain.14
If you’re craving something savory, whip up a guacamole-style dip using fiber-rich avocado. The omega-9 fatty acids it contains can also help regulate your appetite so you don’t eat as much.15 If you like, toss in a red bell pepper. The capsinoid in it increases fat metabolism. Research has found it can also aid abdominal fat loss.16
For something less involved, just cut open a grapefruit and dig in! The enzymes in the fruit reduce levels of circulating lipids in your blood. Some research has shown that consuming it daily can also bring modest weight loss and significantly reduce waist circumference.17
Another handy fruit to keep stocked at home is the pomegranate. The ruby red antioxidant rich fruit is a good natural way to treat hyperlipidemia in anyone with diabetes. For everyone else, it is worth it for the nutrients it packs and delicious plain or sprinkled over regular or low fat yogurt.18
Oranges And Pears
Oranges and pears are fiber rich and lower serum cholesterol levels.19
Quick-Fix Snacks To Have On The Go
If you need a snack that’s good for your weight loss effort but doesn’t take much effort to put together, there is a solution. Foods like berries take little to no preparation and are excellent for your body.
- Strawberries have anthocyanins that lower blood pressure, by making your blood vessels more elastic.20
- Blueberries too have a similar effect on those who have high cholesterol levels or have been eating a high fat diet.21 If you eat them with the peel on they may even help prevent belly fat accumulation.22
- If you need something more filling, make up a batch of homemade muesli or granola using fiber-rich oats, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and enjoy it with a fruit of your choice to sweeten it naturally. Alternatively, a little bit of honey can sweeten the mix.
- Just eat heart-healthy nuts or some pumpkin seeds dry roasted. Just remember, you should limit how many nuts you eat – they may be healthy but are high on calories too!
- Non-fat or low fat yogurt is another snack option for those who aren’t trying to restrict dairy intake for other health reasons.
Hydrate With A Healthy Drink
Drinking plenty of water is an important part of staying fit. Flavorsome drinks can play a dual role of filling you up and supplying you with fluids.
- Fresh vegetable or fruit juices made at home are a quick way to meet your daily five target, just be sure to leave the skin on if it’s edible, and the pulp in, wherever possible for that extra fiber hit.
- If you’re more of a milkshake person, why not try a low fat yogurt smoothie instead? The natural sugars in the fruit sweeten the drink beautifully, or add a touch of honey if you like it sweeter.
- A fresh homemade vegetable soup made from tomatoes, carrots, or any other vegetable you like is a good thing to have handy. Make ahead and freeze into portions so you can grab one when hunger strikes. A dash of fresh pepper and you’re good to go. Perfect for cooler weather too.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Paddon-Jones, Douglas, Eric Westman, Richard D. Mattes, Robert R. Wolfe, Arne Astrup, and Margriet Westerterp-Plantenga. “Protein, weight management, and satiety.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 87, no. 5 (2008): 1558S-1561S.|
|2, 11, 16.||↑||Snitker, Soren, Yoshiyuki Fujishima, Haiqing Shen, Sandy Ott, Xavier Pi-Sunyer, Yasufumi Furuhata, Hitoshi Sato, and Michio Takahashi. “Effects of novel capsinoid treatment on fatness and energy metabolism in humans: possible pharmacogenetic implications.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 89, no. 1 (2009): 45-50.|
|3, 19.||↑||Anderson, James W., Pat Baird, Richard H. Davis, Stefanie Ferreri, Mary Knudtson, Ashraf Koraym, Valerie Waters, and Christine L. Williams. “Health benefits of dietary fiber.” Nutrition reviews 67, no. 4 (2009): 188-205.|
|4.||↑||Slavin, J., and H. Green. “Dietary fibre and satiety.” Nutrition Bulletin 32, no. s1 (2007): 32-42.|
|5.||↑||Parra, Dolores, Alfons Ramel, Narcisa Bandarra, Mairead Kiely, J. Alfredo Martínez, and Inga Thorsdottir. “A diet rich in long chain omega-3 fatty acids modulates satiety in overweight and obese volunteers during weight loss.” Appetite 51, no. 3 (2008): 676-680.|
|6.||↑||Omega 3 fatty acids. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|7.||↑||Robertson, M. Denise, Alex S. Bickerton, A. Louise Dennis, Hubert Vidal, and Keith N. Frayn. “Insulin-sensitizing effects of dietary resistant starch and effects on skeletal muscle and adipose tissue metabolism.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 82, no. 3 (2005): 559-567.|
|8.||↑||Keenan, Michael J., Jun Zhou, Kathleen L. McCutcheon, Anne M. Raggio, H. Gale Bateman, Emily Todd, Christina K. Jones et al. “Effects of resistant starch, a non‐digestible fermentable fiber, on reducing body fat.” Obesity 14, no. 9 (2006): 1523-1534.|
|9.||↑||Foods that fight inflammation. Harvard Health Publications.|
|10.||↑||Sahebkar, Amirhossein. “Potential efficacy of ginger as a natural supplement for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.” World J Gastroenterol 17, no. 2 (2011): 271-272.|
|12.||↑||Kreydiyyeh, Sawsan Ibrahim, and Julnar Usta. “Diuretic effect and mechanism of action of parsley.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 79, no. 3 (2002): 353-357.|
|13.||↑||Ranasinghe, Priyanga, Shehani Pigera, GA Sirimal Premakumara, Priyadarshani Galappaththy, Godwin R. Constantine, and Prasad Katulanda. “Medicinal properties of ‘true’ cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum): a systematic review.” BMC complementary and alternative medicine 13, no. 1 (2013): 1.|
|14.||↑||Kumar, Amit, and Ghanshyam S. Chauhan. “Extraction and characterization of pectin from apple pomace and its evaluation as lipase (steapsin) inhibitor.” Carbohydrate Polymers 82, no. 2 (2010): 454-459.|
|15.||↑||Dreher, Mark L., and Adrienne J. Davenport. “Hass avocado composition and potential health effects.” Critical reviews in food science and nutrition 53, no. 7 (2013): 738-750.|
|17.||↑||Dow, Caitlin A., Scott B. Going, Hsiao-Hui S. Chow, Bhimanagouda S. Patil, and Cynthia A. Thomson. “The effects of daily consumption of grapefruit on body weight, lipids, and blood pressure in healthy, overweight adults.” Metabolism 61, no. 7 (2012): 1026-1035.|
|18.||↑||Esmaillzadeh, Ahmad, Farideh Tahbaz, Iraj Gaieni, Hamid Alavi-Majd, and Leila Azadbakht. “Concentrated pomegranate juice improves lipid profiles in diabetic patients with hyperlipidemia.” Journal of medicinal food 7, no. 3 (2004): 305-308.|
|20.||↑||Eat blueberries and strawberries three times per week. Harvard Health Publications.|
|21.||↑||Rodriguez-Mateos, Ana, Akari Ishisaka, Kazuaki Mawatari, Alberto Vidal-Diez, Jeremy PE Spencer, and Junji Terao. “Blueberry intervention improves vascular reactivity and lowers blood pressure in high-fat-, high-cholesterol-fed rats.” British Journal of Nutrition 109, no. 10 (2013): 1746-1754.|
|22.||↑||Song, Yuno, Hyoung Joon Park, Suk Nam Kang, Sun-Hee Jang, Soo-Jung Lee, Yeoung-Gyu Ko, Gon-Sup Kim, and Jae-Hyeon Cho. “Blueberry peel extracts inhibit adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 cells and reduce high-fat diet-induced obesity.” PloS one 8, no. 7 (2013): e69925.|