Fad diets, cleansing teas, and magical coffees. We’ve all tried these things on our quests to lose weight.
The harsh truth is, there’s no miracle product or cure for shedding those unwanted pounds. In fact, your eating habits aren’t the only factor that influences how you lose weight. Stress levels, exercise, health issues, and sleep habits all play an important role. Since these factors vary from person to person, each individual’s dieting journey is unique.
Research indicates that snacking every three to four hours can help you shed pounds. But snacking doesn’t automatically lead you to weight loss. In fact, little mistakes can derail your healthy eating habits and sabotage your weight loss plan.
If you want to incorporate snacks into your diet plan, read on to find out the most common mistakes people make and how to fix them.
When you're trying to lose weight, you might be tempted to suffer through until it’s time for your next meal. Here’s why you should avoid making this fateful mistake.
Have you ever experienced the midday slump? You’re groggy, tired, and irritable, making it impossible to focus on your work. A wholesome snack helps you stay clear-headed and keeps your energy levels up, so you can avoid the dreaded afternoon slump.
A well-balanced diet is critical to losing weight. Snacking on nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy is a great way to ensure your body gets all its daily nutrients.
Snacking every three to four hours helps keep you satisfied and full throughout the day. With your hunger and cravings managed, you won’t find yourself ravenous and ready to binge come mealtime.
Eating small, healthy snacks can support you in reaching your weight loss goals. Here are X common snacking mistakes to avoid when trying to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Counting calories is an integral part of one’s weight loss strategy. Many folks fall victim to the mindset that they need to save their calories for bigger meals, forcing them to skip snacks altogether.
Snacking leads to erratic blood sugar levels. Those dips and spikes lead to those hangry feelings and cause you to reach for high-calorie, unhealthy snacks.
Snacking for the sake of snacking is a surefire way to derail your weight loss journey. Your midday snacks should be similar to your meals in that they should be well-rounded and include the right macronutrients.
If you eat a piece of cantaloupe for your morning snack, you’ll be starving well before lunchtime. The fruit causes a spike, followed by a dip, in blood sugar levels. This is why you feel hungry within an hour.
Instead, reach for a balanced snack that contains protein, complex carbs, and fiber. This will keep you satisfied and energized for much longer than a protein or fiber-only snack.
The average person should consume between 1,600 and 3,000 calories daily. Your individual caloric needs are based on a number of factors including age, height, weight, activities, and weight loss goals. Meeting your caloric needs keeps your metabolism in check and fuels you for your daily activities.
Many dieters fail to keep a calorie count when snacking. To keep your caloric intake in check, read the labels and eat as many whole foods as possible. This leads us to our next point.
Dried fruit, nuts, and seeds are great, nutrient-dense snacks. They’re the perfect fuel for workouts and avoiding the midday slump. It’s also very easy to overeat these snacks.
Instead of snacking right out of the bag of trail mix, measure out the appropriate portion size. Better yet, make pre-portioned snack bags to fuel you for the week. This will allow you to snack with confidence, knowing that you’re still on track with your calorie count.
We’ve been trained to believe that carbs are evil, single-handedly derailing every weight loss journey. The truth is, our bodies rely on carbs for certain metabolic functions. When we cut carbs out of our diets, our bodies produce hormones that promote cravings. The body will continue to produce these hormones until it receives the macronutrients only found in carbs.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 45-65% of your total daily calories should contain carbohydrates. To ensure you’re snacking on healthy carbs, focus on consuming starchy vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.
Many dieters skip fruit entirely because they’re under the impression that the natural sugars are bad for them. The truth is, your body needs these healthy nutrients to sustain yourself. And, since fiber can help satiate hunger, cutting it out entirely can lead to overeating.
Choosing fiber-rich foods like prunes and apples is a great snacking option. They’re low-calorie and high-fiber, so they’ll keep you feeling full without putting a huge dent in your calorie bank.
It’s natural to have feelings of hunger while adjusting to a restricted-calorie diet. Don’t wait until you’re starving to reach for that afternoon snack. Doing so increases your chances of consuming more calories than you really need.
Living a healthy lifestyle requires more thought and careful planning. Consider making snack prep part of your weekly routine. This helps ensure you eat the right quantity of the right snacks, and that you don’t wait too long.
Have you ever reached for a snack out of sheer boredom? Don’t worry; you’re not alone. Over time, those small bites here and there add up. Before you know it, the scale is going up rather than down.
To combat boredom snacking, assess your hunger on a scale of one to ten. If it’s a ten, you’ve waited too long. If it’s a two, walk away from the fridge. A seven on the hunger scale is the sweet spot you should be aiming for.
Too much of anything is bad, even if it’s a healthy snack. Beyond calories, there are factors to consider, like the amount of sodium or sugars.
Just because your favorite snack is low in calories doesn’t mean you can’t overdo it. For example, let’s say you’re on a Brussels sprouts kick. You just can’t get enough of them. While healthy, Brussels sprouts are high in fiber. If your body’s accustomed to one cup of fiber daily, and you start consuming three cups of sprouts each day, you run the risk of being constipated. Nothing can derail you faster than unexpected stomach issues.
Again, prepping your snacks ahead of time is a great way to ensure you’re meeting your caloric intake goals and maintaining a healthy balance of all necessary nutrients.
It’s easy to get sucked into the label trap, filling our carts with items labeled “gluten-free” or “organic.” The truth is, these foods are often packed with sodium, sugar, and calories, just like the non-organic alternatives. A good rule of thumb - everything in moderation.
Similar to boredom snacking, distracted eating can throw your diet off track in no time. Experts recommend practicing “mindful eating.”
Mindful eating is where you pay attention to your body while you eat. You use all your senses to savor every bite. In mindful eating, you’re conscious of every food item you put into your body and are strategic about why you choose them. This kind of small change in your mindset not only helps to manage portions but also allows you to reignite your passion for flavors and textures.
Many folks who are trying to lose weight are mindful about what they eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. When it comes to snacks, however, they don’t put as much thought into it. Eating right is a lifestyle, and it means being conscious and contentious of everything you put in your body, including what you drink and snack on.
Studies have shown that dieters who food journal lose weight faster and keep it off long-term. In fact, one researcher found that people who kept a food diary lost twice as much as people who didn’t. That's a significant difference and well worth the effort.
Proper nutrition and portion control, combined with regular exercise are the fastest way to meet your weight loss goals. With the right plan of action and helpful guides to keep you focused, you'll be able to recognize what works best for you and realize your weight loss and healthy-living goals.
SmartPlate® can help you track your food, count calories, and maintain a nutrient-rich diet, all with minimal effort. Eat well while remaining mindful of making good food choices. Explore our website and learn how SmartPlate® can help you achieve your healthy lifestyle goals. Then, start eating healthy and living fully!