Friday, September 18News That Matters

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Healthy Snacks for Weight Loss & Curbing Cravings

You need to eat more if you want to lose weight and curb your cravings for junk food. It might seem counterintuitive, but a lot of dietitians, nutritionists, and bodybuilders will tell you that you’ve got to eat a lot more of the right stuff if you want to lose weight, stick to your diet, and keep those pounds off.

You shouldn’t sacrifice snacks because you’re trying to cut calories. If you want to lose weight, you’ve got to eat snacks. The caveat is that they’ve got to be healthy snacks. Healthy snacks ensure you won’t be starving all the time (and tempted by that vending machine at the office).

Healthy, low-calorie snacks will keep you energized, stable, and steady throughout the day. You won’t dip down into a depression and reach for that soda or Hershey’s chocolate bar. If you can just maintain a steady supply of healthy snacks, you’ll be able to hold out until mealtimes (where you’re hopefully eating balanced, nutritious, healthy, and wholesome meals).

1. Yogurt w/ Added Berries

Yogurt with added berries is one of the tastiest and easiest to prepare healthy snacks out there. It’s as simple as buying small packs of yogurt at the health food store and containers of fresh, organic berries. Just sprinkle a handful of berries on your yogurt after you peel off the plastic lid.

Don’t buy flavored or sugary yogurt. Make it sweet on your own with the addition of berries. The last thing you want to be doing is eating a lot of sugary yogurts all the time. That’s almost as bad as ice cream or frozen yogurt. Yogurt is a very nutrient-dense snack, and it is a great source of calcium, potassium, and protein.

Berries are rich in antioxidants, and the yogurt is packed with protein. Greek yogurt is the best. It’s very rewarding to come home at the end of a long day and open up a yogurt, sprinkle some berries on it, and sit back and relax. It’s a lot healthier than ice cream with chocolate syrup on top.

 

2. Various dried fruits

Dried fruits can be bought in almost any and every single variety you can think of, and they’re healthy for you – in fact, they’re much healthier for you than comparative bite-sized snacks that contain mostly chocolate, sugar and then some more sugar.

If you have a periodic sugar craving throughout the day that you would still like to satisfy despite the fact that you’re on a diet, dried fruits are the perfect alternative to your usual candy.

You can find them in almost every form – from dried cranberries to dried bananas; these are all great for eating just as they are, or you can include them in recipes like salads, smoothies, cakes; and they’re still as healthy! You can also make your own dried fruit, usually with some baking a very low temperature over a long period of time – and most fruits are naturally sweet, so you can skip the sugary covering that you find in many store-bought dried fruit.

3. Celery sticks and peanut butter

When most people think of a diet, they think of celery sticks – and most people are of the opinion that celery sticks are absolutely awful and only have a place being fed to goats.

But those people would be wrong! The root of the problem most people experience with eating celery is the fact that they try to eat it just as it is – raw, with nothing else on or with it. Of course, that’s going to be close to awful! Spice it up a little:

There’s nothing wrong with dipping your celery stick into peanut butter (better than you would think) or keeping some salad dressing or cheese spread nearby.

No, you can’t gorge yourself on celery sticks, and you’ll be full long before you’ve consumed enough of it to affect your diet – which makes it a great overall snack for ditching cravings. So forget about the idea that celery is just for goats!

4. Fruit salad

Fruit salad is an extremely broad term, which is great for you: That means you can be as versatile as you want. You can include only the fruits you like and skip the ones you hate.

You can pour some fruit juice over your fruit salad when you’re done – some people prefer it like that – or you can leave it out if that’s your preference. The best fruit salads are prepared freshly, with the freshest ingredients you can find. Usually, it’s best to purchase foods at the nearest farmers market, usually early in the morning – if you can’t, your local grocery store should do.

Most fruits (with the exception of thick-skinned ones, like bananas) fruits should always be washed before cutting them up. When selecting fruit at the store, pick ones that are bright and firm rather than softer and obviously old. It’s one of the healthier options out there, and it makes a great breakfast and snack.

5. Fruit juice ice creams

Who doesn’t love ice cream on a hot day? But many people think of ice cream as a soft-serve sundae with chocolate sprinkles and drowning in chocolate syrup – which means that they toss the idea of ice cream out of the door entirely when they go on a diet.

There’s no need to do that at all! If you still prefer soft-serve based ice creams, you’ll be glad to know that soft serve itself contains little calories (and is made from soy, so generally fine for those with a lactose intolerance) – and there’s no reason you can go easy on the sugary syrups.

You can also use a couple of moderate scoops to top your fruit salad off. Alternatively, you can consider switching to fruit juice-based ice creams instead, of which there are many. Or if you can’t find something that perfectly suits your needs, then maybe you should just make your own. The great thing about it? It’s as healthy as eating some fruit.

6. Potato chips – the right kind!

Ooh, potato chips… They’re another food that people are used to associating with unhealthy diets and take-out food – or maybe just grabbing a bag of potato chips and passing out in front of the couch.

First, forget everything that you think you know about the potato chip. The great news about them is that they can be a healthy option too. You don’t have to cut this snack out of your diet entirely.

You just have to approach it a little differently once you’ve switched to healthy eating. Instead of fried in oil, you could simply switch to baking potato chips in the oven; there are many potato chip brands available on the market that are a healthier option – just make sure you read the label.

Potatoes are also great in every other form, from mashed potatoes to served as a soup. Yes, it can still be a healthy option – you just have to approach it a little differently.

 

7. Crackers with all sorts of toppings

Crackers are an ever-popular snack for people on the move – and they also happen to work great for functions and entertaining a bunch of people for a party. First, there are literally thousands of different types of crackers available to suit your individual dietary needs if we bend the definition of cracker a bit:

There are wheat crackers, there are rice crackers, there are crackerbreads, there are rye crackers and whole wheat crackers… You get the general idea. Pick the cracker that is both good for you (again, read the label!) and that you enjoy eating. Crackers can be topped with pretty much anything you have on hand – be as creative as you feel like being.

The important part for weight loss is to ensure you are eating responsible toppings – with crackers as a snack, that’s usually where the most calories are hiding away. Stay conscious of your toppings and the good news is crackers aren’t an unhealthy snacking option at all.

8. A savory salad dressed down

Like fruit salad, savory salads have just as much versatility – especially if you’re watching your diet. Many people discount the idea of a decadent salad because they consider it to be far too unhealthy – but, once again, this option lies in the small changes you make to the original dish.

As some practical examples, you can easily remove the cheese from a traditional Greek salad and replace the salad dressing with a healthier one – for salads, you should watch your toppings and salad dressings, as they’re most often where the calories are hiding in your dish. You can also add some meat to your salad if you so choose:

Go for healthy options, such as lean beef and lean chicken with the skin removed. Instead of using your salad dressing to dress your salad up, why not make it a healthier snack by dressing it down a little bit instead?

9. Egg white omelet

Eggs are known for being the staple of muscle-freaks, weight-lifters and bodybuilders – how many people have heard that you should add raw eggs to your protein shakes for maximum muscle gain? But what if muscle gain isn’t your goal at all and you’re just looking to shake off some unnecessary weight? In that case, you can just adapt the dishes you love a little and turn them into something healthier.

For starters, separate the egg and make an egg-white omelet instead – calories are most prevalent in the yolk of the egg, by the way. You can fill your omelet with a variety of fillings as decadent or simple as you like – many people go with some simple tomatoes and cheese, while other people prefer to go with chicken (remember, always lean and with the skins removed!), beef, pork or fish. Omelets are luckily as adaptable as you need them to be.

 

10. Trail mix

Hikers are already familiar with trail mix, some people might have heard of it already, though a huge chunk of readers might be wondering just what on earth trail mix is in the first place. It’s usually a collection of nuts and dried fruits – sometimes berries, sometimes several types at once.

It’s called trail mix because it’s great for eating as a snack on a hiking trail. There’s science behind this, too: It’s a great boost of energy, useful for when you’re hiking and need to take a break before you forge on with the rest of the path. It’s as useful for getting through everyday life as it is for hikers, though, and you might like keeping some trail mix nearby.

If you want a super-healthy option, make your own trail mix at home and keep only as much as you need for one day in your carry-container – that way there’s no chance for you to overeat even if you wanted to, and you know that it’s all healthy stuff!

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