If you wonder how to eat properly during work hours or what kinds of snack are most healthy, then this article is for you. Whether you are on a diet right now or you want to keep fit, knowing how to snack is something you should know well.
Healthy Snacking – 4 times a day!
- Make a habit of snacking on “tons” of vegetables
- Fruit is a great snack (but only 4 portions per day)
- Have a daily handful-sized portion of nuts and olives
- Eat a handful of seeds daily
- Use one of your 3 weekly cheese portions as a snack
- For best results, prepare your snacks in advance
- Always have a snack with you
Snacking is key to feeling satisfied, keeping up your energy level, and preventing feelings of deprivation. By snacks, I do not mean the common junk we pop in our mouths because it’s available – like chips and candy bars, or even granola bars. The snacks you should be enjoying are vegetables, fruit, yogurt, hummus for dip, nuts, seeds, and occasionally some cheese (as long as it’s within your weekly cheese budget). Your snacks have to be as healthy for you as the rest of your diet.
Planning your snacks will help you ensure that they’re varied, interesting, and delicious. One trick is to pre-portion sandwich bags of fresh vegetables, pieces of fruit, occasional chunks of cheese, or assorted berries. You might consider packing a cooler bag with some yogurt or milk. Preparing your own trail mix with assorted nuts and seeds is also very helpful. Here are some great ideas that my patients have found helpful: try preparing carrots and celery with a hummus dip, mixing yogurt with cut-up fruit, and portioning some cheese and olives. Preplanning is an advantageous way to keep yourself on track with the program.
The joy of snacking is limited only by your imagination and preparation time. Just be cautious about portions. Of all the snacking options, only vegetables are unlimited – so eat lots of them.
Going to a restaurant, a party, or a function with lots of food? I highly recommend having a snack half an hour ahead so you don’t find yourself arriving there feeling starved. Should you find yourself en route to dinner without a snack, stop to buy a piece of fruit or some nuts or other beneficial snack. Snacking will be critical to your success in achieving your weight goals. Read more about other ways to attain your goals clicking on the link if you want a in-depth plan.
I recommend a mid-morning snack, a mid-afternoon snack, a mandatory snack half an hour before dinner, and an evening snack if necessary. Fruit is highly recommended for the mid-afternoon and pre-dinner snacks.
Nuts are a valuable source of omega-3 fats and fiber. You should eat a small handful of almonds, walnuts, or pecans every day.
Peanuts are a good snack, too, but are not recommended every day and should be portioned when they are in the shell. Beware of commercial peanut butter, as it is higher in saturated fat than peanut butter from a health food store. It’s best for you to limit your peanut butter to one tablespoon per week.
Seeds should be limited to a handful per day. Also, a handful of popcorn seeds are a good portion for an air popper, which is the recommended method for preparing popcorn. Add a light sprinkling of olive oil after popping. Sunflower, flax, and poppy seeds are all rich in important minerals and high in fiber.
Olives are another nutritious snack food, loaded with healthy oil and minerals. Eating a variety of colors and kinds is very healthy, but do your best to avoid those in brine, to keep your sodium intake down.
For those who must have something to eat while watching your favorite show, you can prepare an assortment of raw vegetables and some hummus for dipping. Having a glass of cold sparkling water with lemon is also a great way to consume a healthy drink.
Having a small bowl of airpopped popcorn is also allowable. Mindless eating at night can easily jeopardize your success, so stay focused and be very mindful about what you’re eating and pre-portion anything other than vegetables.
Snack Ideas: Be Creative
- Red, yellow, and orange peppers
- Broccoli florets
- Cherry tomatoes
- Almonds, walnuts, pecans
- Baby carrots
- Air-popped popcorn
- Salsa dip for vegetables
- Your own trail mix
- Fruit cut into small pieces
- Carrot and celery sticks
- Dried fruit (handful)
- Bean salad with calorie-reduced dressing
- Yogurt (plain, 0% to 1% fat)
- Salad with calorie-reduced dressing
- Hummus for dipping vegetables
Alcohol, Yes, but Not Too Much
- Females: Up to 4 drinks per week
- Males: Up to 7 drinks per week
- 1 drink
= 1.5oz of liquor
= 12oz of beer
= 5oz of wine
Unlike many other diets, some alcohol is allowed. While on a weight loss plan, men can have up to seven drinks per week and women up to four drinks per week. To keep on track with your weight-loss goals, remember not to mix fruit juices with alcohol, and definitely stay away from cocktails with syrups, mixes, or soft drinks.
In my experience, many people underestimate the extent to which their alcohol consumption contributes to their weight problem. Be very mindful of your alcohol intake throughout the week.
Portion control is especially difficult with alcohol as glasses are different sizes and hosts can be very generous. It’s important to limit a glass of wine to five ounces, a beer to twelve ounces, and hard liquor to one and a half ounces per drink. (This is what constitutes a drink, as defined by the experts on alcohol consumption.) Beer really does tend to create a beer gut, so opting for wine is better.
Once you have reached your goal weight and have progressed to the Weight Maintenance part of the program, your weekly alcohol consumption can increase slightly. In next articles, I’ll tell you how to navigate parties and other social situations where it’s usually a challenge to control alcohol and food portions. Pitfalls abound when you’re trying to lose weight. But don’t despair, that article gives you strategies to avoid common traps.