When most people think of snacking, they immediately think of eating the wrong foods: junk food, chips, snacks, sweets, cookies, and salty foods that taste delicious but offer little in the way of nutrition. Well, the time has come to change that mindset! Yes, snacking at the wrong times and on the wrong foods can be terrible for your health, but not all snacking is bad. If you want to know how to snack to lose weight, here are some tips to help you:
Snack at Noon
The biggest gap between your meals is typically between your early breakfast and your 2 PM lunch. During that time, your body burns through everything you ate for breakfast, so you end up feeling ravenously hungry around lunch time. Instead, try having a snack around 11 AM or noon (depending on how late you ate breakfast). That way, you’ll control your hunger and give your body a bit more fuel to keep burning until lunch time. You’ll be far less likely to overeat at lunch with a noon-time snack.
Snack before Workouts
This may sound counterintuitive, but it’s one of the best ways to snack to lose weight! Snacking before a workout gives you the energy you need to power through an intense training session. You don’t want to overdo it on your snack—no more than 200 to 300 calories should more than suffice to keep you energized for your training session. Try to make it a carb-heavy snack with as little fiber as possible. This is one of the few times when having simple carbs is a far better choice for your digestion and energy levels!
Snack after Workouts
One of the best tips to snack to lose weight is to have a snack right after you finish working out. Ideally, you should try to have your biggest meal within an hour of two of finishing your training session, but that’s not always possible. At the very least, try to consume 500 calories, preferably mostly protein with a bit of carbs to help replenish lost energy. Those 500 calories will help to replenish burned energy and keep you working well the rest of the day.
Snack at Night
Yes, snacking at night can actually be good for you! Most people tend to have late-night dinners, but that’s terrible for your digestion, sleep quality, and waistline. Instead, shift your big meals to breakfast or lunch, and have a small snack at night. Stick with 200 to 400 calories, with the emphasis on carbohydrates and proteins with a little bit of healthy fat. Milk makes for an awesome night snack, as it can encourage better sleep. Night snacking instead of full-on eating is better for weight loss in the long run.
Snack Smart and Healthy
Snacking healthy means making food choices that will actually be good for you. Junk food and sweets are going to be the WRONG choice, every time. Instead, try to find snacks that offer real nutritional value: fruit, veggies, nut butters, nuts, seeds, legumes, protein, and whole carbs. Everything from tuna and crackers to avocado toast to a boiled egg can make a good snack if you need something to shut down your appetite, or you can go for a piece of fruit if you’re looking to boost energy levels. Avoid any and all snack foods that come in packets or wrappers—they’re typically highly processed and terrible for your health. Instead, focus on raw, natural foods that deliver a hefty dose of the nutrients your body needs to keep functioning all day long.