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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Is Snacking Good For Weight Loss?

Snacking can either derail your weight loss efforts or it can enhance them. Choosing the right kind of snacks can actually help you stay on track, avoid overeating and empty calorie consumption. The desire to snack can be caused by hunger, stress, boredom, etc. but the key is to find the right kind of snack to satisfy your urge to eat.

Snacking in between meals can actually help you eat less at mealtime. Eating every three to four hours keeps your metabolism going more consistently, thereby burning more calories throughout the day. You should refrain from eating anything four hours before you go to bed. You burn fewer calories while you are sleeping so you don't want to eat anything that you can't burn off before going to bed. This will also help reduce acid in your stomach, minimizing your risk of acid reflux.

If you find yourself snacking because you are bored, you should find something else to do like taking a walk or reading a book. Are you snacking because you are stressed out? If so, how can you reduce your stress? Sometimes you need to attack underlying problems that lead to overeating. It is really easy to grab a candy bar from the vending machine, scarf it down and then feel guilty afterwards. Plan ahead and have healthy snacks on hand for those times when you really need them. Come up with alternatives for eating that you can use during emotional periods.

There are plenty of healthy options when it comes to snacking. Unbuttered popcorn is a super snack. Four cups contain only 60 calories and 2 grams of fat and also contains 4 grams of fiber. You can add spices such as chili or garlic to give it plenty of flavor without adding any fat. Nuts are another nutritious snack. One ounce of nuts will provide you with beneficial fats (monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat), lower calories, protein and fiber. Whole wheat or whole grain tortillas with reduced fat cheese can be warmed in a microwave is a satisfying alternative to chips and cheese dip. Another one to try is low-fat yogurt with fresh fruit mixed in it. Fruits and vegetables are always great for snacking too.

Stay away from doughnuts, danishes, muffins and chips. These contain more calories than some meals. Most any kind of snack that comes in a 1oz or 2oz package should be avoided. These prepackaged snacks are almost always high in calories and fat and low in any kind of nutritional value. Always look at the package labels. If sugar is one of the first 4 or 5 ingredients, you should definitely NOT eat it.

As long as you are making healthy snack choices, you can continue to enjoy snacking in between meals, when you are bored or stressed and anytime you want. If you choose your snacks wisely, they will not ruin your weight loss results that you have worked so hard for and may even help you eat less.

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