Healthy Snacking     

Healthy Weight Loss Diet and Nutrition Plans CAN and SHOULD Include Snacks.

Most of us are in the habit of eating "three squares" a day. Our meals are usually four or five hours apart. Since our stomach has emptied three or four hours after a meal, we arrive at the next meal famished...unless we've bridged the gap with a snack.

For too many of us, breakfast, if we eat breakfast at all, is usually some donuts we've grabbed enroute to work, washed down with coffee or a soda. Since, besides the initial bright-eyed and bushy-tailed rush, there is little real and lasting nutrition in such a 'meal', we find ourselves in need of more fuel long before lunch. So we grab a snack from the machine or the convenience store or some other place not usually noted for the nutritional value of the available fare.

Lunch at noon and dinner at six leaves another huge gap between meals and we usually bridge the gap the same way we did between breakfast and lunch.

And of course there's the chips and soda while watching TV between dinner and bedtime.

Are you beginning to get the picture? Is it any wonder why so many of us are struggling with weight control?

The solution is to plan our meals and include healthy snacks in our healthy weight loss diet plan.

Our bodies require a fairly even supply of nutrients throughout the day to function at our best physically and mentally.

We should divide up our day into 3 meals and 2 or 3 snacks. This spreads out your food intake so that we have a steady energy level throughout your waking hours. Because our brain also depends on a fairly even blood sugar level to function well, this also ensures that you will be giving it the fuel it needs on a regular basis.

Our 3 main meals should provide 75% of our nutritional needs. The remaining calories can be met by our snacks. Do not worry if you do not know the exact calorie content of the foods you eat. Just think about distributing foods fairly evenly at your meals, and at each meal have a good variety of foods (grains, proteins, vegetables and dairy or dairy substitutes). This ensures a broad nutrient intake, since no one food, no matter how nutritious, can provide all the basics your body needs. Likewise, if you consistently leave out or limit one major food group, your diet will probably be out of balance and may lack some essential nutrients.

Think about choosing between-meal foods and drinks by what they can do for you. Some snacks, like chips, sodas, cookies, and ice cream, can add a lot of sugar, fat, and excess calories. Other types of snacks can supply needed vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

The American Dietetic Association provides some tips on choosing healthy snacks:

Plan ahead - Pack fruit, trail mix (seeds, dried fruits, nuts), yogurt, and other portable foods ahead of time. Then you won't have to rely on vending machines and convenience stores.

Snack consciously - Mindless or emotional nibbling can lead to overeating. Try to eat a snack without doing anything else. Don't watch TV or study at the same time, especially if you are under stress.

Choose nutrient-rich foods. Examples would be whole grain muffins and crackers, baby carrots, popcorn, fresh fruit, yogurt, low-fat cheese, peanut butter, and nuts and seeds.

Here are some ideas for healthy, quick-to-prepare snacks to have on hand:

Instant or canned vegetable or bean soup,

Pretzels (whole grain for extra fiber and staying power),

Snack-sized cereal boxes (same benefits if whole grain),

Dried fruits,

Oatmeal packets (especially good with dried cranberries or raisins, and nuts),

Low-fat crackers with peanut butter, almond butter, or low-fat cheese,

Low-fat yogurt with fruit pieces stirred in,

Air-popped popcorn with topping ideas: cinnamon, chili powder, low-fat cheese sprinkles (add butter flavored spray to help these flavors stick to popcorn),

Low-fat frozen yogurt with graham crackers, vanilla wafers, or ginger snaps,

Baked tortilla chips with low-fat melted cheese and salsa,

Raw fruits and vegetables, already cut up and in zip-loc bags ~ can be dipped in mixture of plain yogurt mixed with salsa or herbs,

Fruit smoothies (frozen or chilled fruit pieces blended with fruit juice and nonfat fruit yogurt),

Remember that water is an essential nutrient. To quench your thirst, instead of soda, try juice spritzers (one part juice and one part sparkling water), vegetable juice, or flavored mineral waters.

So, get up a little earlier and have a good breakfast the go ahead and snack between meals but follow these guidelines to include nutritional snacks as a part of your healthy weight loss diet plan.



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Quick weight loss pointers

Do not pity your self accept yourself as you are and start improving from that point onwards.

Eat slowly to reduce fat; our brain is slow to send us signal when our stomach is full. It may take 10-15 min. for the brain to realize you are full and to suppress the craving for food. So if you eat real fast you may end up consuming more than you will ever require.

Be a fat burning machine, the more lean muscle you have the more your BMR that is you will be consuming more calorie while at rest, so concentrate on increasing % of lean muscle. Weight training under an experience instructor is the way to go if you can afford

Set midterm realistic goals and do not use the scale often, give your body some time to respond

If you find exercising boring team up with a group of like minded people; the group dynamics will help you stick to the schedule and on the top of that it will be fun instead of boring routine.

Reduce weight to be fit not thin.

Do exercise that suit you.

If you feel your work towards losing weight is taking fun out of life, choose fun as life is short.

Quick pointers

Strengthen your will power through affirmation and visualization.

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