Reducing calories eaten each day is a significant part of the battle to lose weight, but even the best laid plans can be ruined by an extra cupcake in the lounge at lunch or late-night snacking of butter-drenched popcorn. While the idea of snacking might bring to mind images of a small bag of potato chips or a candy bar, many snacks are healthy and can actually facilitate weight loss. Here are 3 ways to incorporate healthy snacking into your diet plan:
1. Choose Healthy Snacks
Instead of taking all snacking out of the picture, choose snacks with health benefits or that are low in calories. If an urge for sugar hits right before you go to bed, try eating a banana instead of a candy bar; you’ll receive the added benefit of tryptophan, which is the amino acid also found in turkey that makes you feel sleepy after a big Thanksgiving dinner.
If you don’t have time in the morning to eat a full breakfast, try pouring some healthy dry cereal or granola into a reusable plastic container so the vending machines you pass on the way to the office don’t grab your attention. Even if those vending machines contain ten varieties of your favorite candy bars, you’ll be much less likely to use them for snacks if you’ve got a full stomach when you walk by.
2. Eat Your Dessert Later
When planning your meals, try eating items prepared for dessert a few hours later for your snack. As it’s easy to get the munchies after a low-calorie or diet sized meal, saving the treat portion of that meal will allow you to spread your daily calorie allotment around, without adding extra calories to your day. You’ll also benefit from keeping your body from feeling hungry during the day, which can lead to overeating during the evening.
Try eating that yogurt-covered granola bar you brought to lunch in the late afternoon before a twenty-minute walk break. Or, eat those low-sugar cookies a few hours after dinner in the evening when you might be prone to picking up extra calories in the form of unplanned late-night trips to the refrigerator.
3. Prepare Your Snacks ahead of Time
The easiest way to make mistakes in snacking is to grab prepackaged items from a vending machine or from a nearby food cart. But, instead of tossing 75 cents into that vending machine for a chocolate bar, try bringing a healthy granola bar to work. You can even turn your mid-afternoon break into a ten-minute brisk walk with a piece of fruit in your hand instead of an unhealthy trip to grab a bag of chips from the vending machine.
Taking the time ahead of work to prepare some apple slices for a mid-morning snack or popping some popcorn in the morning for your afternoon munchies takes only a few minutes and can help you prepare to say no to unhealthy last-minute candy bars and potato chips.