Many people say that you shouldn’t eat between meals if you are trying to lose weight. Others believe that eating small meals (AKA snacks) throughout the day are an effective weight-loss strategy. So which is true?
Like most things, it depends!
First, it depends on your own hunger cues. Are you legitimately hungry? (Not just bored or stressed). Then it may be good to eat something rather than let your hunger go off the charts while you wait for dinnertime. Of course, what you choose is very important.
“Weight loss snacks” might make you think things like “tasteless,” “cardboard,” and “completely unsatisfying.”
However, it IS possible to have weight-loss friendly snacks that aren’t just nutritious but also delicious!
Here are five snack ideas that are nutrient-dense whole foods where a little goes a long way; foods that contain protein and/or fiber.
1 – Nuts
It’s true – nuts contain calories and fat, but they are NOT fattening!
Well, I’m not talking about the “honey roasted” ones, of course. Those probably are fattening.
Studies show that people who eat nuts tend to be healthier and leaner.
By the way, nuts also contain protein and fiber, which means a small amount can go pretty far in terms of filling you up. Not to mention the vitamins and minerals you can get from nuts.
Did you know that almonds have been shown to help with weight loss? At least 10% of the fat in them is not absorbed by the body, and almonds can also help to boost your metabolism!
Tip: Put a handful of unsalted/unsweetened nuts into a small container and throw it in your purse or bag.
Caveat: These are nutrient-dense little buggers! Don’t over do it.
2 – Fresh Fruit
As with nuts, studies show that people who tend to eat more fruit, tend to be healthier. (I’m sure you’re not too surprised!)
Yes, fresh fruit contains sugar, but whole fruits (I’m not talking juice or sweetened dried fruit) also contain a fair bit of water and fiber; not to mention their nutritional value with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. And fresh fruit is low in calories.
Fiber is something that not only helps to fill you up (known as the “satiety factor”) but also helps to slow the release of the fruit sugar into your bloodstream and reduce the notorious “blood sugar spike.”
Try a variety of fruit (apples, pears, berries, etc.) and pair that with a handful of nuts.
Tip: Can’t do fresh? Try frozen. Plus, they’re already chopped for you.
3 – Chia seeds
I’m new to the whole chia seed thing, but I’m starting to like them.
Chia is not only high in fiber (I mean HIGH in fiber), but it also contains protein and omega-3 fatty acids (yes THOSE omega-3s!). As well as antioxidants, calcium, and magnesium.
Can you see how awesome these tiny guys are?
They also absorb a lot of liquid, so by soaking them for a few minutes, they make a thick pudding (that is delicious and fills you up).
Tip: Put two tablespoons in a bowl with ½ cup of nut milk and wait a few minutes. Add in some berries, chopped fruit or nuts, and/or cinnamon and enjoy!
4 – Boiled or poached eggs
This is one of my personal favorites, and DH loves to make them in the Instant Pot.
Eggs are packed with nutrition and most of it is in the yolk.
They contain a lot of high-quality protein and a good amount of vitamins and minerals.
And recent research shows that the cholesterol in the yolks is NOT associated with high elevated cholesterol or heart disease risk.
Yup, you read that right!
Tip: Boil a bunch of eggs — or make them in an Instant Pot — and keep them in your fridge for a super-quick (and nutritious) snack!
5 – Vegetables
I don’t need to tell you how great these are for you, but just maybe I need to sell you on the delicious “snackability” of these nutrition powerhouses.
Veggies contain fiber and water to help fill you up, and you don’t need me to tell you about their vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, right?
You can easily open a bag of baby carrots and/or cherry tomatoes and give them a quick rinse (they’re already bite-sized).
Tip: Use a bit of dip. Have you put almond butter on celery? How about trying my new hummus recipe below?
Go ahead and try one, or more, of these healthy snacks. Prepare them the night before if you need to. They will not be “tasteless,” like “cardboard,” or “completely unsatisfying.” Trust me.
Recipe (Vegetable Dip): Hummus
Makes about 2 cups
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained & rinsed
? cup tahini
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 dash salt
1 dash pepper
- Put all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. You may need to thin it out with a bit of water, so add it 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time and blend.
Serve & enjoy!
Tip: Don’t like sesame? Use an avocado in place of the tahini, and olive oil in place of the sesame oil. You can also experiment by adding in different flavorings such as spices, herbs, roasted tomato, etc.