One of the major reasons that people have difficulty keeping on their diets is the urge to snack. For many of us, it’s hard to get through the day without having at least one snack. However, that one snack can easily turn into ten and before you know it you’re grazing all day long, adding useless calories to your daily intake. While snacking can be important, you’re going to need to be smart about it to make sure that you can stick to your diet.
When we need a little snack fix, most of us reach for a bag of chips or a candy bar. It’s a quick fix and provides you with that burst of sugar that will make you feel pretty good right away, but not so good later on. The key to snacking without ruining your diet is picking the right kind of snacks. It may take a little while at first to get used to eating healthier snacks, but before long, you’ll be able to prefer it.
Start by figuring out how many calories you want to eat per day. Add up your three main meals and then figure out how many calories you have left over. This can be used as a guide to help you pick the snacks that will keep you on your diet. You’ll also need to figure out the times when you are most likely to snack and target some changes in your regular meals to help you get through the day.
A great snack will contain enough protein to give you the energy you need to make it to your next meal without feeling deprived. Over the long term it is much more effective than carbs at keeping your body fueled right. For example, instead of that can of soda and a serving of chips, which can equal more than 300 calories, have one serving of low fat cottage cheese. This contains only about 80 calories and can actually be quite satisfying. Nuts, nuts, nuts… Almonds are particularly good for you, but almost any kind of nut is a great source of energy and in appropriate amounts nuts will fit into any diet. (5 almounds is equal to 1 protien serving on my diet. I get 14 protien a day.) Even a small block of cheese, a serving of tuna or some other small treat can be a great low calorie high protein alternative. A really great healthy snack that I just picked up at the local Costco (seriously tastes great) is dry roasted and lightly salted edamame aka soybean. 70% Less fat and 40% more protein than peanuts… one serving is 14 grams of soy protein and 2 net carbs.
Figure out what kind of protein snacks you like to eat. If you are one that absolutely needs to feed your sweet tooth, look for special protein bars that are low in calories and carbs while high in protein. These can provide a great boost of energy and keep you balanced all day.
Earlier, we mentioned that it is also important to figure out what times of the day you are most likely to snack. This is usually a sign that you are not eating a balanced enough meal before hand. For example, if you have a lot of carbs for breakfast, that sugar is going to wear off well before lunch, leaving you feeling hungry. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but is should contain enough protein to give you the fuel you need to make it to lunch.