How to Lose Weight & Snack
A new study published in JAMA found that people trying to lose weight could focus less on counting calories if they ate lots of veggies and whole foods and cut back on added sugar, refined grains and highly processed foods (read: packaged goods). These findings were accurate whether they focused on eating low fat or low carbohydrate diets. Put simply: eat “real” food for a healthy weight.
Think like you’ve gone back in time – when everybody ate more natural foods and focus on “quality” whole foods vs. terms on the label like “low-fat" or the "calories per serving." If your “low fat” item is a bag of chips or cookies, they are still cookies and high in sugar and processed ingredients. It is this concept of whole foods eaten over time that delivers long-term weight management. For more on sugar intake, read our article, “Just How Much Sugar is OK?”
It makes sense when you think about it. It takes a whole lot of veggies to give you a significant calorie count, yet these types of whole foods are full of fiber, protein and vitamins so they are very sustaining for the body. The good news is we've got less to think about in the grocery store. It is so hard to track all of the things you are supposed to when selecting food - ingredients, calories, organic, processing, etc. - with the shift to whole foods you can focus less on one thing: calories.
Eating more whole foods has side benefits too. Shopping for fruits, vegetables and lean meats means more cooking at home and increased family time. You can make it fun, get family members involved in helping to plan the menu or take a trip with you to the local farmer's market to pick out vegetables. Over time this will change your relationship with food.
Whether you're trying to lose weight or just trying to eat healthily, we all get hungry in-between meals. So how do you have a little something and stick to your new focus on the healthy whole foods? Search for low-sugar, high-protein quality foods that will keep your blood sugar level up, make you feel full and steer you away from packaged goods.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list to get you started. It's filled with "real” food snacks that are nutritious and filling enough without causing you to eat so much you aren't hungry for your next planned meal. We tried to select items that are portable, so you can take them with you wherever you go.
9 Snacks for Healthy Weight Loss
- Edamame – This soybean is high in protein and complex carbs to give you lasting energy.
- Bananas – High in potassium and fiber, it's a filling fruit.
- Strawberries – High in vitamin C and fiber.
- Frozen Grapes – High in anti-oxidants and fiber. Freezing them brings out their sweetness.
- Almonds – High in healthy fat, fiber and protein these nuts are another filling treat. Steer away from almonds that have been coated with sugar and other toppings that add the ingredients you are trying to eliminate.
- Raisins - High in fiber, potassium, iron and anti-oxidants. They're great to mix with nuts and fruit.
- Yogurt – More calcium and protein per serving than other dairy product. It’s our one “packaged” food on the list – be sure to look for low sugar varieties. You can mix it up by adding cut fresh fruit or raisins. Steer away from the yogurts with fruit pre-packaged with it; these varieties often contain a high amount of sugar.
- Carrots – High in soluble fiber, carrots are both filling and help aid the digestive system. Those tiny pre-washed bags of carrots make them easy to grab on the go and fun for kids.
- Apples – High in fiber and helps to regulate the "good" bacteria in your gut that aids in weight loss.
There are many choices for healthy vegetables, fruits and nut snacks. Create your own list of healthy snacks you will pick up next time you are in the market. Look for ways to make them "fun" to eat. Continue to pair your healthy eating with physical activity, and you're on your way.