Smart Snacking Tips to Keep You from Overeating
You may have heard that eating frequent snack-sized meals throughout the day is a good plan for weight loss because it supposedly stokes your metabolism, which would help you burn more calories overall. Sorry, buddy, but no. The truth is constantly adding fuel to your fire without a break won’t give your body a chance to dig into its fat stores and it keeps your insulin levels up all day; so ultimately you’re tweaking your metabolism to hold and store fat, not burn it. Plus, when you graze around the clock, it’s way too easy to lose count of all those calories you’re taking in. Here’s a better way to snack:
Limit yourself to one snack a day. Knowing when to snack (and planning for it) will help keep you from being lured into mindlessly eating. There’s an ideal time to eat to maintain a healthy weight, and that’s every four hours, including one snack between lunch and dinner. The purpose of a snack is to fill the void when you go longer than four hours without eating. And that’s important because eating every four hours stabilizes your blood sugar, optimizes insulin production, and prevents you from chowing down on convenience foods filled with crap ingredients, and having too many servings of them.
Choose a satisfying snack. If the snack leaves you wanting more, chances are you’re going to reach for more. It’s as simple as that. Your snack, like your other meals, should have a good balance of healthy proteins, fats, and carbs. But stick to snacks that are 200–240 calories a pop. Filling snack options include: a smoothie with protein powder; 1 piece of fruit and a handful of raw or dry roasted almonds or walnuts; 1 cup of veggies dipped in 1/3 cup of hummus; and a single serving of air-popped popcorn sprinkled with 1 teaspoon of grated Parmesan cheese.
Make a meal of it. Don’t snack while walking out the door, or in front of the computer screen, or on your commute home. Sit down like you’re eating a real meal—because you should be! When you snack on the go, you risk getting so distracted by whatever else you’re doing that you don’t notice your body’s signals telling you when you’re full. Slow down, savor your snack, and, believe me, you’ll enjoy it that much more.