When it comes to snacks, they can make or break your diet. Snack smart, and you'll keep hunger at bay and fuel your body. Snack wrong, and you can blow hundreds of calories without realizing it. These tips and good snacking habits can keep you smiling on the scale!
Constant snacking is one of the easiest ways to blow your calorie count for the entire day. Even when you plan out your meals, giving in to those little snacks during the day can take a toll — especially if you aren’t tracking them. Are you guilty of mindlessly grabbing a mini-pastry at your breakfast meeting, a handful of candies from the receptionist’s jar, and so on…? If the answer is yes, this type of mindless eating can really curb your progress.
Learning to keep your snacking habits in check can be the difference of saving just a few calories or up to 1000 calories a day. I don’t care if it’s a lick, taste, or a “small bite”, all of those items add up — and when you begin to account for them every day in a food journal, you’ll see just how much! That could be all the difference in calories you need to finally start dropping the pounds.
That said, a snack between lunch and dinner is an important part of my diet and fitness programs. The key is to learn how to snack responsibly on good quality food and to plan your snack into your day, not just eat them randomly on-the-fly.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind the next time you feel yourself entering the snacking zone:
Time your meals out
Studies show us that from a biochemical perspective, when we are trying to maintain our weight or lose weight, stabilizing blood sugar by eating every 3-4 hours is key. When you skip meals it can cause you to become overly hungry and eat too much at your next meal and when you snack throughout the day you can lose track of your calories and your constantly releasing insulin – which is no good. The only time you would eat throughout the day would be when you are trying to gain weight. So plan your snack between the long gap from lunch to dinner.
Treat Your Snack Like a Meal
When we’re in snack mode, we typically ignore standard eating practices, like sitting at a table — instead we’re standing in the kitchen, or talking while we dig into that bag of chips or whatever. Admit it, you’ve done it too. By not consciously acknowledging what you’re consuming, it can ultimately lead to OVER eating. If you actually take the time to put your snack on a plate, sit down and enjoy it like a meal, you’re going to savor what you’re eating that much more. You’ll also be more likely to feel satisfied.
Know the calories
In general, tracking your snack calories will be important. For some of us who are in maintenance mode we will be allotting roughly 300 – 400 calories for a snack. For those of us who are in weight loss mode we will be allotting roughly 200 calories for a snack. Make sure that you have a bunch of snacks at the ready that meet your desired calorie requirements.
Get all your macros
The point of a snack is to curb hunger, keep you from bonking from low blood sugar, and to make sure you don’t hit dinner hungry. One of the best ways to insure your snack does what it’s supposed to is to make sure it has healthy fats, carbs, and proteins. The Train with Jillian Meal plans have dozens of snack options. Here are few grab and go ones to consider: Organic greek yogurt with crushed walnuts and berries, Organic beef jerky with an orange, Hard boiled egg with an apple, Almond butter on whole grain toast with a banana, and Avocado toast.
When You Can't Stop…
My fool-proof trick for those nights when I literally can’t stop snacking: brushing my teeth. Who wants to eat another sweet with the taste of mint on his or her tongue? Not me. Other tricks? Paint your nails, play with an app or go on the computer — anything that distracts you will stop you from going back into the kitchen. After 20 minutes on Facebook, I’m willing to bet you’ll forget all about that candy you were thinking of unwrapping.
Control Your Environment
It’s simple. If you find that you’re having a serious issue with self control, then don’t keep snacks in the house. You can’t eat what’s not there! If a certain food is your personal kryptonite, stop buying it. It’s no fun to deprive yourself of your favorite foods, but if you find it that hard to keep yourself in check, it’s not worth keeping them around either. It’s time to stop doing what you’ve done to gain the weight and time to start making the tough changes you need to FINALLY lose the weight for good.