Did you know that by eating just 100 calories over your needs per day, you can gain 10 pounds in a year?
That is why snacking can be dangerous– because it can easily add extra calories to your day and often times not a whole lot of nutrition if your’e not eating the right kind of snacks. But, if done properly, snacking can actually be a healthy part of your diet and help you lose or maintain your weight.
If you’re just eating 3 times a day you may end up going too long between meals. This can cause you to become low on energy and become overly hungry and overeat during your meals– leading to weight gain. So for many people, it is important to eat between meals as long as you can try to follow these three important guidelines:
- Eat a snack in between meals but when you’re NOT hungry. When you try to get a snack when you are hungry, you can end up over eating and just consume more calories in the day than you need, instead of trying to control hunger and intake throughout the day.
- Use your snacks as a way to meet some nutritional gaps from your meals. Things like nuts, yogurt, fruits are great snacks because they are highly nutritious and filling, and often helps fill vitamin and mineral gaps from your meals.
- Try to choose snacks that blend complex carbohydrates with protein. These types of snacks are both nutritious and satiating and will help keep your caloric intake under control throughout the day.
Here’s a snack idea that I LOVE because it’s nutritious, satiating, and most importantly—it tastes good!
- 18 Multiseed Brown Rice Mini crackers from Trader Joe’s (see packaging below)
- 1/2 Persian Cucumber (cut in slices or sticks)
- 2 TBS. Regular Hummus
Nutrition Facts: Calories: 120 ; Protein 3 g ; Fat 4 g ; 17 g carbs (mostly complex)
These crackers are great because they’re made with brown rice flour and flax seeds so are a good source of omega-3 Fatty acids and b-vitamins. They’re also easy to take on the go or to work and you can eat up to 35 of them for about 100 calories. For a more satiating snack that will keep you on track the rest of the day, I like eating half the serving size of the crackers (about 18) and add something with a bit of protein like the hummus or low-fat string cheese.
Happy “healthy” snacking!