There are many misconceptions about snacking. Many blame snacking for extra weight gain. However, as long as you choose your snacks carefully, snacking can actually be a valuable tool in your efforts to lose weight. Whether you like to munch, nibble, or simply curb the afternoon munchies, you can make snacking work to your advantage.
Listed below are some of the most common snack myths and the truths behind them.
Myth: All Snacks Are Fattening
Truth: Eating a healthy snack between meals can fit into your overall eating plan Just be sure to choose nutritious, low-fat snacks, without a lot of calories. No food is fattening by itself. It is the imbalance of total calories in and total calories used by your body that causes weight gain.
Myth: Eating a Snack Will Spoil Your Appetite
Truth: Eating a snack, such as an apple or small salad a couple hours before your next meal will not spoil your appetite. It will however, help curb your appetite and make it easier to get to your next meal without becoming ravenously hungry, which might otherwise lead to overeating at your next meal.
Myth: Snacking Will Cause Cavities
Truth: Snacking does expose your teeth to food and decay-causing bacteria, but avoiding snacks that are sugary or sticky and brushing your teeth after eating a snack can actually help prevent cavities.
Myth: I Can Never Eat Unhealthy Snacks When I’m Trying to Lose Weight
Truth: It is possible to eat less healthy snacks from time to time as part of an overall healthy eating plan. When you have a high-fat or high-calorie snack, simply adjust your food intake for the rest of the day to account for the snack. In fact, having the occasional indulgent snack may actually help keep your diet on track.
Smart Snacking Tips
The key to making smart snacking decisions is to be prepared for a snack attack. Use the following tips to make smart snacking choices:
- Plan ahead so that you have healthy snacks on hand when you need them. Stock your refrigerator at home with fresh fruits and vegetables and keep low-fat granola bars or rice cakes in the glove compartment of your car.
- Avoid distractions when you are snacking. Instead of munching absent-mindedly while you are watching television, try eating your snack while sitting at the table with no other distractions. This will help prevent you from overeating. If you crave a snack while enjoying your favorite show, only take a reasonable portion with you to the couch and leave the rest in the kitchen so you won’t inadvertently overeat.
- Vary your snack selections. It can become boring if you try to eat the same snack day after day. Doing that can increase your chances of reaching for a less healthy treat the next time you want a snack. Try to eat a variety of healthy snacks each week.
Health Snacking Substitutions
There are many foods that are popular snack choices that aren’t particularly nutritious. We have prepared a list of healthier alternatives to these foods.
|Avoid: ||Choose: |
|French fries ||A plain baked potato topped with salsa |
|Ice cream ||Fat-free yogurt topped with fresh fruit |
|Candy bar ||Low-fat granola bar |
|Potato chips ||Reduced-fat baked potato chips, popcorn or rice cakes |
|Cookies ||Celery with a small amount of peanut butter |