Snacking is often thought of as a source of unnecessary calories between meals. If you’re snacking on junk food like chips or sugary desserts, you’re going to have trouble losing weight, but if you snack on healthy foods you can reduce the total number of calories you eat during the day.
When you eat foods high in fiber, protein, or healthy fats, you become full sooner than when you eat high sugar or processed foods. Snacking on healthy foods also keeps your hunger in check so that you don’t binge.
The following three snacks are all superb choices for when you need a pick-me-up between meals.
- Dark Chocolate. If you don’t think dark chocolate fits into your diet, think again. When choosing a chocolate bar, look for one that is low in sugar and made from at least 70% cocoa. Dark chocolate is high in fat to keep you full and essential nutrients to keep your body functioning optimally like magnesium, iron, copper, and manganese. Another advantage of dark chocolate is its high antioxidant content. Antioxidants help prevent metabolic damage, which keeps your heart healthy and prevents some kinds of cancers. Even eating a block or two a day can help increase feelings of fullness and provide you with essential nutrients.
- Peanut Butter on Whole Grain Toast. Peanut butter and whole grain bread are a great combo to keep you full. Whole grain bread contains high levels of fiber, which increases satiety and keeps your insulin levels stable through the day. Peanut butter has about 8 grams of fat per tablespoon, which also keeps you full. Fat contains nine calories per gram as opposed to protein and carbs, which only contain four calories per gram. You may not think you need more fat to lose weight, but eating more fat means that you’re likely to cut down on sugar and other unhealthy sources of nutrition. Essential nutrients found in whole-grain bread include selenium, manganese, phosphorous, magnesium, and niacin. Peanut butter also contains niacin, magnesium, phosphorous, and manganese as well as vitamin E, folate, vitamin B6, s, potassium, copper.
- Homemade Tuna on Bread or Crackers. Tuna is an excellent source of protein and is easily transportable. One can have 30 grams of protein with only traces of carbs and fat. Tuna can be somewhat dry by itself, so to make it more delicious you can make homemade tuna salad with olive oil and lemon juice. Olive oil gives you a boost of monounsaturated fats, which promote heart health. If you pack your tuna with either whole grain crackers or bread, you can keep your insulin levels stable and add nutrition to your snack. Besides protein, tuna also provides you with niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, and selenium.
Snacking correctly can reduce your hunger and help you lose weight. Stick with foods with high nutritional value that are low in sugar. Sugar and other processed carbs will spike your insulin levels, which can lead to extra fat storage.