Every dieter yearns for fast weight loss, however it is difficult to keep away from fat inducing snacks. This article outlines the role of healthy snacks.
In order to bring about fast weight loss, it is necessary to reduce calories and increase activity. Over time, this will produce weight loss, however for most people the only way they know how to lose weight is via sacrificial dieting. While this produces weight loss, the tendency to revert back to poor eating habits brings about a reversal of the weight loss process. By integrating healthy snacks into your diet, it becomes possible to lose weight quickly without having to sacrifice tasty food.
The Role of Snack Food in Dieting
In theory, it is possible to diet by eating three full meals per day with no snacks; however, in practice on a calorie deprived diet it is difficult not to snack.
To begin with under caloric deprivation, the body is craving nutrients. The longing for snacks represents not only a desire to eat, but also a need for nutrition. Consequently, snacking can actually be a support to the dieting process, however, it has to be the right kind of dieting.
For instance, in a study on obesity and eating activities carried out by the Journal of The American Board of Family Medicine, sugary beverages account for 40% of the sugar in the average American diet. This is only sugary drinks. When we add in other snacks such as candies, potato chips and cookies which add fat and carbohydrates to the equation, we can quickly see why these ordinary snacks need to be avoided.
To put this into perspective, a person must burn 3,500 calories to lose 1 lb. of fat. Furthermore, it is important when dieting to keep fat levels low, in the 10-20% range. By eating snacks containing 30% fat and 60% plus carbohydrates, we are not doing ourselves any favours. High fat levels as we all know are bad, not only for weight loss, but also for cardiovascular health. Equally important, excess carbohydrates are stored in the body as sugar, which over time can bring on diabetes—a scourge of many people in today’s society.
The answer then lies in healthy snacks, which will help the weight loss process because the frequent intake of nutrients and calories is good for the body. This might sound like a strange idea, however it is important to maintain a steady stream of calories when dieting; calories are necessary in order to maintain metabolic functioning in the body. Only excess calories are bad for you.
So in the case of the dieter, they have a challenge to maintain enough calories and nutrients to keep the body healthy while maintaining an overall state of calorie reduction. This is where healthy snacks will help, both physically by maintaining the body’s metabolism and psychologically by reducing the hunger pangs which go hand and hand with crash dieting.
Substituting Healthy Snacks for Unhealthy Ones
How then can we substitute healthy snacks?
This is not as difficult as it might at first appear to be. Most of us have been raised on a diet of highly processed foods and snacks, and it is hard to readjust our mind-sets to something a little different. What many do not realize is that these processed snack foods are part of the vicious cycle of fat gain, in that they possess empty calories—calories with no nutritional value.
Empty foods rapidly raise our sugar levels, both through carbohydrates stored as sugar and through the inherent high level of processed sugars they already possess. Also because the carbohydrates are simple ones, they are released straight into the blood stream, which results in an energy crash shortly after they have been eaten, followed by renewed hunger pangs. This all results in a terrible cycle of hunger pangs followed by junk food, which leads to further hunger pangs and once again junk food.
Contrary to popular opinion, dieting should not be full of hunger pangs. While dieting always involves some form of restriction, healthy eating throughout the day will provide the body with the nutrients and energy which it needs and consequently hunger pangs should be minimal or non-existent. It is the reliance on processed foods which leave the body gagging for energy and nutrients. So the best thing you can do to aid your weight loss is to shift towards healthy eating habits in order to make the dieting experience a far more comfortable one.
So we need to shift to healthy snack foods, which have low sugar and complex carbohydrates, rather than simple carbohydrates. Although, this will take a little bit of imagination, there are a lot of online resources to help you. For instance the real simple website has a list of 24 delicious and nutritious snacks, which will make for a good beginning. You will notice when reading about the delicious recipes in this site that none of these are amazing foods which you have never heard of, rather, it’s all about understanding your foods and been a little creative in how you use them. It is a good idea to begin to read food labels and work out what provides the better bang for your buck. For example rice cakes and honey are just as tasty as candy but without the high calories.
Here are a few examples of healthy snacks:
- Rice cakes and honey
- Bran flakes, raisins and honey
- Bananas, pears, peaches, apple and grape fruit all together in a bowl
- Natural yogurt and any kind of bran or muesli. If you mix with muesli, keep the muesli quantities low, otherwise calories will be high. Also you can add wheat germ and some honey or even some fruits in order to add to the taste
- Toasted homemade brown bread and tomatoes with a little basil and oregano for flavouring
- Cottage cheese and Ryvita crackers
- Cream crackers, cottage cheese, cucumber and tomatoes
Remember it’s all about applying a little bit of imagination to foods which you know are good for health and low in calories. Also watch out for sugar. Some dieters are experts at avoiding fats and high calories, however they still take in too much sugar, which is bad for the body when in excess. Honey is a good example of this. While healthy, it is also high in sugar and it is important not to take vast quantities.
Losing Weight the Snack Food Way
I am not for one minute suggesting that you give up on regular dieting, nor should you eat excessive amounts of healthy snack foods. Rather, I am suggesting that by shifting towards healthy snack foods, it becomes possible to assist the weight loss process both physiologically by maintaining regular nutrient and energy levels in the body, and psychologically it assists because the dieting process becomes less of a drag when you are allowed to eat something tasty, even if it does taste a little bit different from what you are used to.
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