Snacking can serve as a boost throughout the day, being both a source of comfort and an energy boost, however, there can be a lot of confusion about how to snack in a healthy way.
Bad snacking habits can lead to overeating and weight gain, whereas smart snacking habits can help us lose weight! We all have our favorites, sweet or salty, crunchy or soft, although, some are better than others. Good snacks support weight loss, boost energy and improve mood! It’s just about knowing what to reach for.
Below are 5 snacking myths to avoid and what to do instead.
Myth 1 – Snacking throughout the day leads to weight gain.
Solution – Eat healthy snacks throughout the day!
Eating more throughout the day has proven to promote weight loss. There’s lots of evidence to suggest that eating small meals throughout the day positively influences metabolism and weight loss. Snacking is a great way to keep your energy up and it helps with weight management, productivity, mental clarity, and exercise. Snacking also allows us to make better food choices because we’re not choosing foods out of desperation. The key to snacking is to focus on whole foods! Focus your attention on fruits and veggies, complex carbs, healthy fats, and high protein snacks. Here are some of my favorites:
Myth 2 – Eat low-calorie snacks to lose weight.
Solution – Focus on nutrient-dense snacks!
Contrary to popular belief, low-calorie foods don’t lead to weight loss. This is because low-calorie foods can often leave us feeling hungry, leading us to eat more. Pre-packaged low-calorie snacks are even worse because they often contain additives and artificial sweeteners that promote weight gain. Instead of choosing low-calorie snacks, pick nutrient-dense snacks, which will leave you feeling full for longer and prevent overeating. Focus your snacks around protein and healthy fats, these two nutrients will help you stay full and give you an energy boost!
Next time you feel a mid-day slump coming on have a hard-boiled egg, some Greek yogurt a bit of fruit or veggies, and hummus.
Myth 3 – Only eat what you feel like in the moment.
Solution – Plan healthy snacks ahead of time!
The best way to snack to support weight loss is through planning. Although you should always listen to your hunger cues, instead of eating what you’re craving, have some healthy snacks on hand! Many of us wait too long in between meals, which can lead to over-eating or poor food choices, which is why it’s important to have healthy snacks prepared ahead of time. If you always have healthy snacks around, you won’t have to worry about making a choice out of late-stage hunger. Prepping ahead of time also allows you to control your portions! When we eat after waiting too long we lose sight of portion control. Put a bit of time aside during the week for snack prep, you won’t regret it!
Try these mason jars snacks, they’re super easy to prepare and will keep in the fridge up to 4 days.
Myth 4 – Late night snacking leads to weight gain.
Solution – Have small snacks to avoid falling asleep hungry!
Although eating before bed can disrupt sleep, so can falling asleep hungry! It’s really difficult to get a restful night’s sleep with a rumbling tummy, and disrupted sleep has been linked to increased food intake, reduced physical activity, and weight gain. The key to eating at night is not to avoid all food before bed, but to avoid large meals or snacks rich in simple carbohydrates. Simple carbs and sugars spike your blood sugar and disrupt the hormones that help us sleep. Instead, reach for small portions and snacks rich in complex carbs, protein, and healthy fats. A small bowl of Greek yogurt and berries or almond butter on celery or a piece of Ezekiel toast are great options. If you’re not sure if you’re hungry, you can always settle your tummy with a cup of herbal tea with cinnamon and freshly sliced ginger.
Myth 5 – Avoid sweet snacks.
Solution – Eat naturally sweet snacks!
Weight gain is often attributed to the overconsumption of simple carbohydrates, like the carbs found in cookies and cakes. However, this doesn’t mean we have to avoid all sweets! Many beautiful whole foods will satisfy a sweet tooth and promote weight loss. The key to snacking on sweets is making sure they are packed with other nutrients too. Sweet snacks should always be paired with complex carbs, healthy fats, or protein. If you love a sweet treat then take some extra time to prepare your own, that way you know exactly what’s going into them. These mini gluten-free chocolate chip muffins are always a hit! Other healthy sweet snacks include homemade chia pudding, Greek yogurt parfaits or apple slices dipped in your favorite nut butter!
There is no one way to snack, but just like with the rest of your diet, the best way to snack is on whole foods! No need to deny yourself a sweet treat, or a mid-day crunch! When we focus on nutrients and proper portions, snacks are a great way to boost energy and promote weight loss.