By The Registered Dietitians at 2 Your Health
Snacks are often thought of as a no-no to those trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. We call them “guilty pleasures” and say we’re “sneaking a snack” as though snacking is a crime to be hidden. The true role of snacks is quite beneficial and nothing to feel guilty about, in fact, it may actually help the process along.
Smart Snacking For Weight Maintenance
Snacks can (and should) be part of a healthy diet. The key to weight maintenance is using the same amount (or more) of energy that you consume. Appropriate snacks can help to curb hunger, prevent over-eating, and your get metabolic fire burning. Research tells us that a good way to make sure you are eating an appropriate amount throughout the day is by eating smaller meals with well-timed snacks in between. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends distributing your caloric intake over the course of four or five meals/snacks throughout the day.
When choosing a snack, remember that all foods can fit but not all snacks are created equal. A donut may seem like the perfect mid-morning “pick-me-up” but keep in mind that you’ll get about the same amount of calories from one bite as you would from an entire navel orange. The whole fruit also provides more fiber and nutrients. Almonds, an apple, or low-fat mozzarella cheese are other options that beat out a candy bar, cupcake, or chips hands-down any day of the week. Choose snacks that will keep you full longer while providing fewer calories and you’ll have a much easier time of keeping within your caloric goals for the day.
If you decide to enjoy that slice of cake, cookies, or piece of pie don’t feel like you’ve blown it, just try to eat a little less for dinner or go for a long afternoon walk. Remember that what you’re trying to do is eat a balanced diet and that your overall dietary pattern is more important than a cookie or two.
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