Contrary to popular belief, snacks can be a part of a healthy weight loss plan! But it’s the way you snack, not whether or not you do, that makes the difference. Regular, reasonable snacks can support your nutrition and health goals. But sometimes we become prone to making these five common mistakes.
Snacking when you’re not really hungry. Reaching for fatty or sugary snacks is a common response to emotions such as stress, sadness, or boredom. That’s because certain foods trigger a dopamine release, which results in temporary feelings of soothing or happiness. But if you’re not really hungry, snacking will undermine your weight loss plan. That’s especially true because we often seek high-calorie snacks when we’re eating for comfort. So when a craving hits, take a moment to assess your emotions, and make sure you’re not eating for the wrong reasons. Then, if you’re truly hungry, choose a healthy snack instead.
Snacking while distracted. Yes, eating while working, playing a game on your smartphone, or watching your favorite Netflix series can be fun and relaxing. But if you’re not paying attention, you will find that you eat much larger servings and continue to eat even after you’re full. Practice mindful eating by turning off the distractions and focusing on enjoying each bite.
Snacking on the wrong portions. Portion sizes can be deceptive, especially if you don’t pay close attention to packaging. When reading food labels, look closely at portion size when evaluating calories. That small box of crackers might contain multiple servings, and they might be more calorie-dense than you realize! Don’t rely on the package when evaluating portions; rely upon precise measurements instead.
Snacking without a plan. When you’re following a weight loss plan, planning is everything. Don’t wait until you’re out and about and hunger strikes. Plan your snacks ahead of time, and pack an appropriate pairing of protein and complex carbs, with a little healthy fat. A little planning will help you avoid the temptation of vending machines and fast food drive-throughs.
Simply not snacking. Not only are snacks acceptable; they’re actually a good thing for weight loss! If you go many hours between meals and become overly hungry, you’re actually more likely to indulge in larger portions and too many calories. Small, evenly-spaced snacks throughout the day work much better for many people. Your body needs calories at regular intervals to prevent blood sugar spikes and crashes, mood swings, cravings, and overindulgence. So plan for healthy snacks every day, and support your metabolism as you get healthier over time.
For more information on planning appropriate snacks for your weight loss plan, give us a call. We can help you understand what your body needs and how to change your life gradually and healthfully.