While you will probably have heard that snacking between mealtimes is going to ruin your weight loss efforts it really depends on what you are eating as a snack.
If you choose a healthy snack food then it may actually aid your efforts as they can be used to prevent overeating during your main meals.
Below you will find some advice on what you need to look out for in a snack:
How many calories?
When choosing a snack food you should aim to eat no more than 2x 150 calorie snacks a day, any more can negatively affect your weight.
You should think of these snacks as a way to fill any nutrition gaps in your current diet, for example to ensure your fibre or calcium intake is enough.
What about carbs?
Your snacks should be made up of 40-50% carbohydrates, with those naturally high in fibre being the best option as they tend to be less processed, which ultimately makes them healthier to you.
Good high fibre snacks include:
- Whole grains
- Sweet potato
Does it contain protein?
Protein is an essential nutrient for making your food more satisfying, this is because it is slower to digest than both carbs and fat.
You try and consume a snack that contains between 15-20% protein (6-10 grams per snack).
Don’t forget the fat!
When I say fat I don’t mean the bad fats you will find in the processed junk food. What you should look out for are healthy fats.
Nuts, seeds and avocado contain high levels of good fats so are great snack food examples, just make sure you watch your portion size.
Get enough fibre
If possible you should try to consume at least 3 grams of fibre per snack as this will help fill you up.
Fibre will also help with any digestion problems you currently have, which can in turn help alleviate any bloating.
Watch the sugar content
This may seem obvious but even those so-called ‘healthy snacks’ available in your local supermarket may actually be full of hidden sugars.
Always make sure you read the labels of any snack food to see what you are really consuming.
When should you eat the snacks?
For those who eat 3 main meals a day it seems obvious that you should eat your snacks between these mealtimes, so 1 mid-morning with another mid-afternoon.
However, not everyone has the same schedule so you will need to find what works best for you.
Just remember that a little hunger is not going to do you any harm. Just stick to the above tips, don’t go overboard with your calorie intake and move that one step closer to your weight loss goals.