Although snacking can be beneficial when trying to lose weight, it’s important to choose the right foods. Snacks high in sugar, fat, and carbs can sabotage your weight loss goals. Many so-called “healthy” snacks are actually packed with these ingredients, so it’s important to be aware of what you’re eating. With the right choices, snacking can help keep your metabolism going and curb cravings until your next meal.
1. Trail Mix
Store-bought trail mix is often sold in small quarter-cup servings that are unlikely to be filling. Additionally, the milk chocolate found in most trail mixes is highly processed and not beneficial for your health. A healthier alternative is to choose fruit and nut bars like KIND bars, or even make your own. These bars contain essential nutrients that your body needs for energy and will keep you fuller for longer, unlike empty calories found in many store-bought snacks.
Classic snacks like pretzels are known to be high in sodium, with one serving containing almost 20% of your daily intake. Consuming excessive amounts of sodium can lead to water retention, bloating, and puffiness, and increase the risk of heart disease over time. A healthier alternative is to opt for salted and shelled pistachios that are high in protein and fiber. With almost double the protein and three times the fiber of pretzels, pistachios will keep you full for longer without the negative effects of too much sodium.
3. Rice cakes
Although rice cakes are often considered a healthy snack due to their low-calorie and fat-free nature, they have a high glycemic index reading of 82, which indicates their ability to raise blood sugar levels. In comparison, pure sugar has a rating of 100. A healthier alternative is to opt for air-popped popcorn, not microwaved, which has a lower glycemic index, along with being versatile with the many options for healthy toppings.
4. Bottled smoothie
Bottled smoothies may appear to be a healthy and low-calorie choice, but they often contain two or three servings in one bottle. The best way to ensure that your smoothies are healthy and in line with your weight loss goals is to make your own. This allows you to determine the specific ingredients and serving size. For some inspiration, check out our favorite slimming smoothie recipes.
5. Diet soda
Artificial sweeteners can make you feel full and keep cravings at bay, but they also have a negative effect on your metabolism. Eliminating diet soda (and caffeine) can be difficult at first, but in the end is completely worth it. Try drinking sparkling flavored water or detox waters instead.
6. Banana chips
Banana chips are not a healthy snack option as they are often fried and coated with sugar, which increases their calorie count and saturated fat content. Choosing a fresh banana is a better snack choice, as it contains no saturated fat and provides vitamins B and C and fiber. For a healthy chip alternative, try kale chips, which are low in calories and high in nutrients.
7. Chocolate pudding cups
While a chocolate pudding cup may not have high calorie counts, it’s not the healthiest choice either. Instead, opt for dark chocolate, which contains antioxidants and less sugar, carbohydrates, and more fiber than chocolate pudding. This gives you a chance to include chocolate in your diet in a healthier way. Be sure to choose dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa to maximize the health benefits.
Cheese crackers, like Cheez-Its, are high in simple carbohydrates that quickly raise your blood sugar levels and may lead to increased cravings for more unhealthy food. Avoid snacking on these quick fixes and choose healthy alternatives instead. Opt for whole-grain crackers with hummus or guacamole, or fresh veggies with a protein-rich dip, like Greek yogurt or nut butter. These options will give you sustained energy without causing spikes in your blood sugar levels.
9. Granola and skim milk
Granola may be promoted as a healthy option, but it is often high in sugar and fat, which can quickly add up in calories. A half cup of granola with one cup of skim milk can have up to 360 calories, which may not be ideal when trying to maintain a healthy weight or lose weight. An alternative snack to consider is instant oats, which provide a more nutritious and satisfying meal without the additional sugar and fat. Opt for plain instant oats and add some fresh fruit and nuts for extra flavor and nutritional benefits.
10. 100-calorie packs of cookies
While 100-calorie packs of cookies like Oreos and Chips Ahoy may appear to be a healthy snacking option, they can lead to overeating and sabotage your weight loss goals. People often consume more of these packs because they mistakenly perceive them as healthy. A better alternative would be roasted pumpkin seeds, which are filling and contain only 94 calories per third of a cup. Plus, pumpkin seeds provide important nutrients such as magnesium, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids. Consider snacking on roasted pumpkin seeds instead of cookies to help you reach your weight loss goals.
11. Baby carrots
Baby carrots can be a good snack choice, but they may not keep you full for very long as they are low in protein. To increase their satiety factor, try dipping them in a couple of teaspoons of hummus or another protein-rich dip. The protein in the hummus will help keep you full until your next meal, making it a great snack choice and a good addition to your diet plan.
12. Flavored yogurts
Flavored yogurts are often high in added sugars from artificial flavorings, which can be detrimental to your overall health and weight loss goals. A better alternative is to choose plain Greek yogurt that is naturally low in sugar and high in protein, which will help keep you full and satisfied for longer. You can add fresh fruits or a small drizzle of honey for natural sweetness and additional nutrients. By making this simple switch, you can nourish your body and enjoy a tasty snack without the negative effects of added sugars.