Snack Foods That are Actually Good for You
5 satisfying, natural snacks—chocked full of nutrition and energy
The key to losing weight is a healthy combination of exercise and a nutritious diet. However, with less and less time to work out, we are prone to skip exercise and focus on cutting calories through diet alone, which actually slows the metabolism down and actually makes you more prone to gain weight. You see, when the body is denied food, like it is when you drastically cut calories from your diet to lose weight, it sends a message to the brain that it’s starving. As a result, the body stores all calories as fat and drastically slows the metabolism in an effort to survive.
Instead of drastically cutting calories in the effort to lose weight, eating small amounts of food can actually speed the metabolism up and cause the body to burn fat and calories faster. I often see folks opting for 6 or more tiny meals a day—rather than 3 big meals a day. Of course these meals aren’t your typical size—they are more like healthy snacks. The term is known as “grazing” and it causes the digestive system as well as the metabolism to speed up and become more efficient processes as you use the fat in your body instead of the protein to fuel your body throughout the day. Also, when you graze, the body never feels hungry so the metabolism stays high and efficient, and this way, you’ll never get hunger pains going past a donut shop or a fast food burger joint, or settle for sugar laden empty calorie foods because you are starving.
Many of us want to lose weight—it might be for an upcoming wedding, to impress at a high school reunion, or even to fit into one of the styles from the stunning range of prom dresses for your big night. So instead of starving yourself, try eating frequent small meals throughout the day made up of the following five healthy snack foods:
1. Apples with nut butters
Apples are a crisp, sweet snack without the excess calories. Try slicing up the apple and covering the slices with almond butter or peanut butter—both of which are high in protein and good fats—but only use a bit on each slice.
2. Bountiful berries
Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries are bite-sized sweet nibbles that are high in anti-oxidant properties, which mean they actually help combat free radicals that cause harm to our bodies. Berries, even though high in sugar, are high in natural sweetness, which the body is able to metabolize quickly and expel instead of store in the body. That’s why berries are a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth without the processed sugars.
3. Trail mix
A great way to satisfy hunger fast is with trail mix. A small handful will do the trick to calm any rumbly tummy. The mix of nuts—like almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and peanuts—are high in energy-boosting protein to fuel your day. Just look for a trail mix with not a lot of processed sugar added (in the fruit). The more natural—the better!
4. Greek yogurt
I love yogurt because it’s full of beneficial bacteria (or live cultures) that aid digestion—not only that—the Greek style yogurt is creamy and chocked full of protein. I often opt for the plain (or natural) flavor and add my own sweetness with a dollop of honey or apple butter and some berries.
5. Hummus and rice crackers
Not only is the protein in hummus (from chickpeas) a type that will keep you full longer (foods like beans offer slow-burning protein)—it’s also full of flavor mixed with a bit of good fat (olive oil), garlic, lemon, and even some red peppers for flavor. Smear a bit on a rice cracker or sticks of veggies—like cucumber, pepper, celery, and snow peas to help up your vegetable intake for the day.