Healthy Snacking - Why It's Important for Your Overall Diet
Dieters and health goers alike tend to cut snacks as a means to lower daily caloric load. But consuming healthy snacks for weight loss and health is important for your overall diet.
While scratching out that midmorning muffin or afternoon chip bag is noteworthy, completely disregarding healthy snacks altogether can be unnecessary.
In fact, the benefits of healthy snacking are valuable, including weight management and overall physical and mental health!
So if wondering what are some healthy snacks for weight loss and overall health, consider these healthy low and high-calorie snack options!
Though snacking is often viewed as an unhealthy behavior, satisfying the body with a healthy snack option can lead to important health benefits in relation to appetite control, weight maintenance, optimizing nutrient intake, and enhancing both energy and concentration levels.
Perhaps one of the largest reasons people gravitate towards snacks is to satisfy hunger or a craving leading up to the next meal.
A healthy snack largely consists of protein, as the macronutrient helps induce satiety to subsequently control appetite, while pairing with a high-fiber food is also advantageous.
Snacks rich in healthy, unsaturated fats, such as those sourced from avocados and nuts, are also satiating foods.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
The advantage of weight management is primarily related to appetite control, as a healthy snack can keep hunger levels at bay and lessen the risk of overeating come mealtime.
Research also shows those who consume a high-protein snack have accelerated and sustained weight loss, along with the potential to improve blood glucose levels and a decrease the risk of developing hypertension.
Particularly when choosing healthy snack options over packaged products such as chips, healthy snacking poses the opportunity to harness more nutrients in the day.
For instance, not only does Greek yogurt supply satiety-inducing protein, but bone-supporting calcium. Topping with fresh berries supplies fiber for digestive and heart health, along with vitamin C to boost the immune system.
In addition to snacking to cure that craving or hunger, you may be reaching for sweet goods to trigger that so-called "sugar high." Unfortunately, those sort of products only cause blood sugars to drop just as quickly as they spiked, consequently leading to plummets in energy.
A healthy snack, especially when balanced with the right nutrients, helps regulate blood sugars and increase energy levels to beat that midmorning or afternoon slump.
Healthy snacking can help enhance concentration by quieting a growling stomach and fueling the brain. What's more, research from Tufts University found eating an afternoon snack can improve spatial memory.
But the importance of a balanced snack cannot be stressed enough, as research published in Nutrients indicates snacking on "unhealthy" snacks, such as chocolate and biscuits, was associated with higher stress and more cognitive failures.
However, there are foods proven to benefit brain health and enhance memory, including the intake of peppermint, walnuts, oats, and tuna.
High Calorie & Low Calorie Snacks
Low-Calorie Snack Ideas
Low-calorie snacks are essentially healthy snacks for weight loss and ones off to fend off a pesky craving. Well-balanced, low-calorie snack ideas include:
• 1 or 2 hardboiled egg(s)
• 6 ounces of Greek yogurt with a handful of berries
• A tablespoon or two of hummus paired with sliced cucumbers
• 8 ounces of fat-free or low-fat chocolate milk
• ½ cup of cottage cheese
• 1 or 2 part-skim cheese stick(s)
• 1 tablespoon of guacamole with red bell pepper slices
• 1 ounce of pumpkin seeds
• 4 stalks of cereal with a tablespoon of nut butter
• 1 ounce of beef jerky
• 3 cups lightly salted air popped popcorn
• Approximately 20 olives
Easy Recipe Ideas:
• Kale Chips: Simply preheat oven to 350°F and line baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the kale leaves from the stems, tear into bite-sized pieces, and wash and dry thoroughly. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning salt and other favorite seasonings. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until edges are browned.
• Turkey and Pickle Roll-Ups: Spread a dollop of mustard onto a few slices of turkey then add a pickle spear into each center. Carefully roll turkey around the pickle and enjoy!
Healthy High-Calorie Snacks
High-calorie is not synonymous to unhealthy, and higher calorie snack options can kick hunger pangs while providing significant nutrients.
Those trying to gain weight for whatever reason can benefit from healthy, higher calorie snacks, as they provide the body with nutrient-dense calories. High-calorie snacks may also be appropriate for those needing a little extra substance to tackle physical activity.
Healthy, high-calorie snacks may include:
• 1 cup of whole grain cereal with ½ cup of milk
• An apple with a serving of peanut butter
• Banana with a tablespoon or two of almond butter
• A protein bar
• Whole grain crackers with 5 cheese slices
• A slice of sprouted toast with avocado slices and dash of hot sauce
Additional Recipe Ideas:
• Tuna Salad: Mix 5-ounce can of wild albacore tuna with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, diced carrots and celery, a teaspoon of lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Top onto whole grain crackers, dip with carrot sticks, or fill into lettuce leaves for an easy-to-make snack.
• Homemade Trail Mix: Mix favorite nuts with a variety of shredded coconut, banana chips, dark chocolate shavings, and other favorite trail mix-ins.
Healthy Snacking Made Simple
But to obtain the most benefits, snacks should withhold the right nutrients to satisfy both the taste buds and waistline.
If wondering what are some healthy snacks that are easy to pack and can be enjoyed on-the-go, look no further than those offered by a weight loss meal delivery service!
Unlike a bag of chips or sleeve of cookies, these prepackaged snacks are nutrient-dense and contains ample protein sure to boost metabolism and curb food cravings to keep you healthy and energized.
And with options like crunchy almond crunch, southwest nacho chili crisps, vanilla bean and chocolate espresso cheesecakes, kickin' honey mustard pretzels, and chewy chocolate peanut butter bars, both the taste buds and waistline are sure to be pleased!