HomeMarket10 Snacking Habits That Can Jumpstart Weight Loss, Say Dietitians

10 Snacking Habits That Can Jumpstart Weight Loss, Say Dietitians

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Yes, you can snack and lose weight!

Assortment of Healthy Snacks

A snack in the middle of the day can be super satisfying. Although snacks can make a great midday treat, it seems like people try to avoid them, thinking they’re extra unnecessary calories in the day. However there are so many healthy options worth adding into your daily routine, whether you make them at home or purchase them premade at the grocery store, so don’t overlook a snack to curb your hunger.

With that being said, if you’re a snacker, keep on snacking. However, it’s best to rid of your bad habits and instead swap them for healthier snacking habits.  If you don’t know where to start, but are eager to jumpstart weight loss, here are some ideas suggested by members of our medical expert board that you can incorporate into your everyday life. And for more tips to jumpstart weight loss, be sure to check out 50 Healthiest Snacks to Eat for Weight Loss.

1.Combine lean protein and high-fiber carbohydrates.

Carrots and Hummus

One of the best ways to burn fat is to eat a combination of protein and carbohydrates.

 Molly Hembree, MS, RD, LD suggests a similar combination is a great snacking method as well to help jumpstart weight loss.

“Low-fat animal proteins like light string cheese or a small can of tuna (packed in water) or smart plant proteins like peanut butter, cashews, or hummus help to fulfill our protein requirements at snack time to help with satiety and muscle building,” says Hembree. “Pair that up with nutrient-dense carbohydrates like an apple, raisins, canned pineapple, carrots, or whole-grain crackers, and you’ll be very unlikely to overeat by the next meal!”

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2. Stop grazing. Instead, eat snacks at the same time daily.

Woman eating granola bae with laptop

Having a more normalized eating pattern tends to be best for most people for long-term, sustainable weight loss, suggests Julie Upton, MS, RD. If you’re currently in a daily routine, especially during the workweek, it can be helpful to snack during the same times you normally do and continue to keep those same times.

“That means for most people, having three meals and two snacks, one mid-morning and one in the afternoon, breaks daily calories into a manageable amount so that your metabolism, insulin, etcetera can process the energy most efficiently,” says Upton.

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If you eat too many calories at once, or too many late in the day, that can lead to increased body fat. A study done by The Endocrine Society has shown research suggesting that eating a late dinner may contribute to weight gain and high blood sugar. As for snacks, it’s important to time them and aim for 200 calories to lose weight and keep it off.

3. Eat every 3 to 4 hours.

Snack Time, Snack Clock

“My clients often tell me they avoid snacks, skip breakfast, have just a nibble of food at lunch, and then gorge at dinner. This isn’t a practice that helps with weight loss,” says Hembree. “Our bodies are instead designed to need energy and sustenance throughout the day, by eating every 3 to 4 hours.”

Hembree suggests that skipping meals and snacks causes people to run on empty, only to feel desperate in the evenings and most likely compromise their food decisions, making unhealthier choices. Plus, trying to resist snacking to lower your caloric intake throughout the day actually makes it difficult for your body to burn more.

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In fact, according to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, those who eat at least six times a day have lower body-mass indexes and consume fewer calories overall, compared to those who only consume three square meals, so incorporating healthy snacks into your day is a good habit to obtain.

Snacks can mean something doable and small, but filling enough to hold you over for a couple of hours. Hembree suggests something like a 250-calorie combo of a cup of yogurt with 1/2 cup of blueberries and 2 tablespoons of granola.4

4. Make fruit and veggies your go-to snacks.

Assorted fruit in a jar

A lot of the time, when people think of snacks, they think of chips, candy, baked goods, or any other processed foods. These snack choices are low-quality, high-calorie options that won’t help to lose weight, but instead, gain weight. To avoid these bad snacking habits, Upton suggests making it a habit to snack on fruits and vegetables, because it will almost ensure that your snack calories will remain in balance with your overall daily calorie budget.

“Snacks currently comprise about 25% of Americans’ total calories, making them truly a fourth meal, when, in fact, you want snacks to be more like 200 calories mid-morning and in the afternoon,” says Upton. “Remember, no one needs a snack before bed. We don’t need to fuel up to sleep!”

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5. Pear slices with ricotta cheese

Pear slices and ricotta cheese make a satisfying snack with a sweet taste and creamy texture, and it provides fiber and protein.

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6. Olives with feta cheese

Olives are one of the nutritious staples of the Mediterranean diet.

They’re very high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and provide powerful antioxidants (48Trusted Source).

Combine olives with feta cheese for a Greek-inspired snack that’s rich in protein and healthy fats. You could eat them by themselves or serve them over whole wheat bread to complete your snack with some complex carbs.

7. Spicy avocado

Avocados are among the most nutritious and satisfying foods due to their high fat and fiber content (49Trusted Source).

Sprinkle half of a medium avocado with salt and a dash of cayenne pepper for a savory, filling snack under 120 calories (50Trusted Source).

8. Popcorn

But think air-popped popcorn — not the movie-theater kind doused in butter and salt.

Popcorn delivers filling fiber and less than 100 calories in a generous 3-cup serving (51Trusted Source).

Add flavor with a little bit of olive oil, Parmesan cheese, or nutritional yeast.

9. Cheese with crackers or fruit

Cheese is a delicious, high protein food that’s filling enough to be a snack on its own. However, pairing it with whole grain crackers or a piece of fruit adds some fiber to your snack.

Go with the cheese you’re in the mood for or try mozzarella, ricotta, or feta. Cheese delivers protein and calcium, but the amounts of those nutrients vary slightly depending on the type you choose

You could spread a bit of cheese on your favorite whole grain crackers or opt for string cheese with a piece of fruit for a convenient on-the-go option.

10. Baby carrots with blue cheese dressing

Baby carrots with blue cheese dressing are the perfect snack for when you crave something savory.

In addition, it’s a good idea to pair carrots with a creamy salad dressing or dip, as aside from keeping you fuller for longer, fat increases your absorption of carrot’s fat-soluble micronutrients, such as carotenoids (33Trusted Source).

While blue cheese dressing on its own isn’t nutrient-rich, it may help you eat more carrots (or other veggies).

A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of baby carrots with 2 tablespoons (30 grams) of blue cheese dressing serves as a light snack containing about 180 calories .

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Article Sources & credits:

Healthline & EatThis

(34Trusted Source35Trusted Source)

(36Trusted Source37Trusted Source38Trusted Source).

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