The good news is you don’t need to starve to lose weight. When you’re stomach starts rumbling, you probably hear a little voice in your head telling you not to ruin your appetite. But having snacks in between meals might actually help you eat less, and stave off the urge to overeat or binge later. In fact, dietitians often recommend that you have five smaller meals a day, instead of eating your calories all in one sitting.
One of the main reasons snacking has a bad rap is because of the choices we make from, say, vending machine that are packed with chips, cookies, candies, and other delectable — and fattening — treats. The good news is we’re not all chomping on candy bars come 4 p.m. — a whopping 70% of Americans use snacking as a way to incorporate fruits and vegetables into their diets, according to the Produce for Better Health Foundation.
If you tend to dive into a bag of chips when you’re hungry, try having nutritious foods instead –think moderate amounts of fruits, vegetables, and nuts, for example — and try to eat things you don’t normally have during mealtime. Magee, who isn’t a big milk drinker, uses snacks as a way to get her daily dose of calcium from low-fat cheese and yogurt.
For example your snacks could include:
Apple Slices with Lowfat Cheese
Packed with fiber, water, and antioxidants, fruits and vegetables are great choices for diet-friendly snacking. But the standard banana or carrots and ranch dip can get old quick. Instead, try a sliced apple with a lowfat cheese wedge, like Laughing Cow Light.
Recommended serving size: 1 medium apple with 1 Laughing Cow Light cheese wedge
Calories: about 105
Tomato Soup with Baby Carrots
A mini-meal snack is a good idea when dinner is a long way off. The combo of tomato soup and baby carrots is not just filling; it also gives you lots of body-healthy nutrients, like potassium, cancer-fighting lycopene, and beta-carotene. Try a microwavable soup cup that you can stash in your car’s cup holder.
Recommended serving size: 1 Campbell’s Soup at Hand Tomato Soup and 1 cup baby carrots
If you need your snack to have real staying power, go for a combo of good protein and a little bit of fat. A homemade egg salad is a great choice. Chop up one whole egg and one egg white, then mix with a tablespoon of reduced fat mayonnaise. The high-quality protein in the eggs will fuel your body for hours, while the fat helps slow digestion, so you’ll feel full and energized longer.
Recommended serving size: 1 whole egg and one white plus 1 tablespoon reduced-fat mayonnaise