"Take 2 snacks and call me in the morning." That’s the advice I give most often to my clients who are struggling to lose weight, despite eating very little. It might sound counterintuitive, but snacking more can help you lose weight. Really.
Skipping meals and restricting calories too much can have two major problems. The first is that most people tend to eat way too much later in the day because they’re so hungry they can’t think straight enough to make healthy choices.
If you’ve ever gone grocery shopping on an empty stomach, then you know what I’m talking about – your bill is significantly higher, and half the bags are torn open before they make it down the conveyor belt.
The second problem is that many people tend to slow down their metabolism when they go too long without eating.
When you plan healthy snacks into your day, you avoid letting yourself get overly hungry. And that can help you from going on an all-out binge before dinner or late at night.
Eating small amounts every 3-4 hours is a good strategy to keep your metabolism running the way it should, and that means small meals with snacks in between.
Note that I'm not saying you should eat around the clock. Snacking works best when it's planned into the middle of your day.
The goal is to eat during an 8-12 hour period during the day when your body is active and you need the nourishment. Then, fast (or sleep) for the remainder of the time. It's basically the same as intermittent fasting.
Some Healthy Snacks for Weight Loss
I recommend snacks be about 200-300 calories, and include at least three food groups –a whole grain for energy, a protein to fill and hold you, and a fruit or vegetable to pump you with some vitamins and antioxidants.
Try these snacks on for size…
- Toast a slice of whole grain bread and top it with peanut butter or ricotta cheese and sliced strawberries
- Microwave a whole-wheat tortilla with fat free refried beans, salsa and shredded cheese
- Stuff half of a whole-grain pita with egg salad, and serve carrots, red pepper and cucumber slices on the side
- Got leftovers? make a mini power bowl with ½ cup brown rice or quinoa, some chicken and veggies