Over the past few years, studies have shown that three large meals in a day are detrimental to your diet in the long term. In fact, it’s been observed that the most optimal way to consume meals is two have three regular meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) as well as two filling snacks over the period of a day.
So what exactly are snacks? A snack is defined as “a small portion of food eaten between regular meals.” Snacking can be beneficial to your health because your body uses the nutrients and sugar absorbed to fuel your metabolism, improve blood sugar regulation and help you manage hunger.
But is that the case for all snacks? Absolutely not. While the act of “snacking” may be healthy, most snacks do not fall into the nutritious category. Salty, sweet, savory, and fatty are the main components that make up most snacks today. But just because it’s popular, doesn’t mean it’s good for you.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Snacks that taste indulgent most often use products that retain water, resulting in a metabolic slowdown.
10 Healthy Snacks That Will Help You Lose Weight
It’s vital to pick snacks that include fiber, protein, and healthy fats because these components will help you stay full through the day and subconsciously crave healthy choices for your next meal.
With a little bit of planning, you can design a healthy meal plan for yourself by focusing on foods that are rich in nutrients. If done right, snacks can not only help support your weight management but also help you lose weight because it allows you to manage your hunger and stay satiated until your next meal.
So, without further ado, we’re listing out ten weight-loss-friendly snacks that will help you burn fat without tasting like bland cardboard. Because let’s face it, nobody wants to munch on something that doesn’t taste good.
1. Mixed nuts
Let’s start off this list with a snack that’s natural, nutritious, and delicious! That’s right; we’re talking about nuts. Nuts are truly the ideal nutritious snack because they provide the perfect balance of fiber, healthy fats, and protein.
In addition to their divine and indulgent taste, nuts are also linked to many health benefits and can fill you up almost instantly. Despite their higher fat and calorie content, studies suggest that eating nuts can help you lose weight if consumed in moderation.
Plus, a huge bonus is that there are so many options of nuts you can choose from! Walnuts, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pine nuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, pistachios… The options feel almost endless.
Nuts require no refrigeration, so you don’t have to worry about them spoiling if you’re in transit or on the move. While they do spoil, they have a relatively longer shelf-life than most other perishable goods.
One thing to remember is that, despite their numerous benefits, nuts contain a fair amount of fats and calories. It is essential to be mindful when it comes to your portion size. Aim for 1 ounce or approximately ¼ cup if this is the snack of your choice, no more.
2. Apple slices with peanut butter
Combine an apple's sweet, tart crunch with the creamy, nutty, savory texture of peanut butter, and you get one incredible snack. The marriage of these two flavors is a match made in heaven — both in flavor and nutrition.
Apples are delicious fruits packed with fiber and natural fructose. Peanuts, on the other hand, provide healthy fats and fiber and are a plant-based protein — essentially containing all the filling nutrients you should look for in a snack because these components help keep you full.
Slather some peanut butter on your apple slices, use some cinnamon, raisins, or crushed oats, and what you have is a creamy, crisp snack that is both delicious and good for you.
It is important to note that most store-brand peanut butter is loaded with added sugars and oil. This is detrimental to your weight-loss journey because it contains extra calories. Try to read the ingredient list carefully and only select brands of peanut butter that only use salt and peanuts.
3. Dark chocolate and almonds
If you’re looking to curb sugar cravings, pairing dark chocolate with almonds may just be your answer. The combination of smooth, rich dark chocolate and the delicious crunch of almonds truly make a fantastic pair.
Dark chocolate is chock-full of protein, while almonds are rich in good fats that aid digestion, so in healthy moderation, this snack is ideal for those looking for a heart-healthy and hearty bite.
Try to keep your portions reasonable. A few teaspoons of dark chocolate chips or one square of dark chocolate with a handful of nuts should be enough to kick the craving.
4. Cucumber slices with hummus
There’s nothing more refreshing than pairing the crisp, cool crunch of cucumber with the creamy, rich, decadent texture of hummus.
Hummus is usually made using chickpeas, olive oil, garlic, and tahini (a paste made from sesame seeds.) Purely a plant-based protein, hummus is an excellent source of fiber, protein, and heart-healthy fats.
Mixing 104 grams (1 cup) of sliced cucumbers in 34 grams (2 tablespoons) of hummus will aid in curbing the appetite while being under 100 calories!
If cucumbers don’t do it for you, you can always replace them with a few pretzel sticks or whole grain crackers for a more filling snack. Just keep in mind not to have too many of either.
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Healthy snacking doesn’t always have to be complicated. Rather than cutting, arranging, or preparing your next quick bite, why not just opt for a piece of fruit? They’re filling and highly satisfying.
There’s a wide variety of fruit to choose from as a quick grab-n-go snack, like bananas, apples, pears, grapes, grapefruit, oranges, berries… the list is endless.
Fruits are packed with minerals, fiber, and fructose, so this small snack packs a huge nutritional punch. If you’d like to opt for something a little more filling, you can always combine your fruit with yogurt, overnight oats, or nuts.
6. Cherry tomatoes with mozzarella
What’s red and white and goes so well together? If you’ve guessed tomatoes and mozzarella, you’re absolutely right!
This fun little snack has all the delicious components of a tomato grilled cheese sandwich without any of the added carbs and sugar available in bread.
This snack is also a nutritious and yummy way to add more veggies and healthy fats to your diet.
If you’d like to go one step further and add a depth of flavor to it, all you need to do is mix balsamic vinegar and a drizzle of olive oil with the tomatoes and mozzarella to concoct a snack full of protein, fiber, and healthy fats.
This recipe can also double as a delicious side salad with your next meal.
7. Hard-boiled eggs
Despite the bad reputation surrounding eggs, they’re one of the most weight-loss-friendly and healthy foods you could eat. Because of the high protein content, eggs can keep you full a lot longer than most other snacks.
Unfortunately, eggs do contain a high level of cholesterol. However, studies have found that moderate egg intake – between 3-4 eggs a week – is acceptable and good for your health because it could aid with arterial stiffness, one of many factors for heart disease.
If cholesterol is a concern, take out the egg yolk and snack on egg whites. This mitigates additional fatty enzymes being deposited in your system.
However, yolks provide you with key nutrients like choline and vitamin D and keep you full for longer, so try to incorporate at least one or two a week in your diet.
8. Cheese with crackers or fruit
Cheese is, in and of itself, an excellent snack because it’s high in protein, calcium, and good fats, as well as being absolutely lip-smacking delicious.
However, if you’re looking for a way to elevate the flavors, pair it with fruit or whole-grain crackers. This adds a new dimension of flavor while also providing you with fiber.
If you’re not picky about your cheeses, we highly recommend going with ricotta, feta, or mozzarella. The fat used to make these cheeses is significantly lesser than many other variations, and they taste absolutely spectacular.
One thing to keep in mind – the protein and calcium your body absorbs vary from cheese to cheese.
Do you remember that old rhyme, “Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold?” Just replace peas with oatmeal, and the same stands true! Just don’t leave it in a pot for nine days.
Oatmeal is one of those snacks you can savor hot or cold, sweet or savory, at home or on the go. Just make sure you cook a slightly smaller portion than you might if you were cooking a meal.
Oats are delicious, nutritious whole grains loaded with fiber and have a higher protein content when compared to other cereals sold in the market.
Whether you lean towards sweet goodies like fruit, cinnamon, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips or prefer your food savory and loaded with eggs, avocado, mushrooms, tomatoes, or spinach, they all go with oatmeal, so there’s no reason to feel like your favorite foods are out of reach!
If you’re anything like me, seeing this snack on the list has probably brought a smile to your face because popcorn is delicious because of the salt and butter slathered on it.
Unfortunately, this is not the popcorn we’re referring to. We meant the kind of popcorn you air-pop that keeps the butter and salt content to a minimum.
A whopping 3-cup serving of popcorn is rich in fiber and contains less than 100 calories.
If you’d like to add a little bit of kick and flavor, you just need to drizzle some olive oil, sprinkle some Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast, and voila! Your delicious, nutritious, and filling snack is ready to be eaten.
The Bottom Line
It’s okay to have cravings. Scratch that; it’s normal and totally human to have cravings. It’s what we put into our bodies when we have the craving that makes the difference between a snack that’s packed with nutrition and makes you feel better after having eaten vs. a snack that’s calorie heavy and leaves you feeling lethargic.
The next time you experience hunger, try opting for whole foods or any of the snacks listed above rather than picking something with little nutrition and highly processed.
Making these little adjustments and picking healthy choices in your day-to-day can help you stay fuller longer, stay satiated, provide more nutrients to your diet, and help you with your weight management.