Mother of 2 daughters and grandmother of 7, I strive daily to achieve an optimum level of health and happiness. Life is all about balance
Snacks Don't Have to be Bad for You
Dieting can be difficult and when a snack attack hits the urge to eat can be irresistible. There are a number of factors that come into play in feeling satisfied with the foods we eat and the amount of calories a food contains has little to do with it. Simply eating anything isn't likely to calm that craving for a treat. Keeping a tray of vegetables at your fingertips may actually make a dieter feel hungrier and considerably more frustrated than they should.
If you eat less than you currently are used to then logically you will feel a little hungrier and this is when most people crave a bit of food to get them through to the next meal. It's called snacking and it can be the killer of any weight loss plan. Snacks are famous for getting a bad rap and for some of these munchies their reputation is well merited. Chips, chocolate, candy and baked sweets can be loaded with sugar, salt, or fat, they can be hard on the heart and add inches onto your waist.
It all comes down then to choosing the right edibles to get you through those cravings. It is important to know the foods that will keep you feeling satisfied for longer and why these foods work the way they do because these are the refreshments that may help you lose those extra pounds. So let's take a peek at some unique ways to satisfy your craving for a treat.
There are Many Reasons Why People Monitor Their Food Intake
Factors that Makes a Food Satisfying
There are a number of reasons why some foods help us to feel content or full long after we have eaten them. These are factors that will help us to feel more satisfied and therefor not so prone to eat further.
- Water Content
- Amount versus Calories
- How the food is processed in the body ie: Fat is stored rather than used as an immediate energy source and this causes you to feel hungry shortly after consuming a fatty meal. There is a major difference in how your body treats protein rich food and how it deals with fatty food.
Protein Rich Foods are Filling
- Nuts: Some diet foods may surprise you and nuts are one of these. Generally given a bad rap for being a high fat high calorie food some nuts can actually help you to lose weight. Studies show that consuming about 14 walnut halves per day helped participants lose weight faster than those who did not consume nuts. Why? Because not only are protein rich foods highly filling but new studies suggest that Omega 3 rich nuts alter how the part of the brain responsible for appetite and impulse control process data. Grab a few walnuts, almonds, or pistachios to satisfy your next snack attack.
- A Hard Boiled Egg: Protein is filling which means that it is also a food that is highly satisfying. Eggs are wonderful in this regard and also in the fact that they are a complete protein which means that the energy they provide the body is there for your immediate use.
- Salmon: Canned, smoked, or oven baked this protein rich fish is a powerhouse of nutrients. Salmon is a filling food but also offers a burst of flavour in its consumption making it one of the most satisfying snack foods to consume. You can pop a bowl in the fridge and nibble little bites throughout the day. For added savour sprinkle pepper, lemon juice, thyme, rosemary, or a little powdered garlic on top. These are no calorie seasonings that work well on many food options.
- Baked Chicken or White Turkey Slices: White meats are lean of fat while being loaded with energy rich protein. Filling, nutritious, and satisfying lean meats can be cut into cubes, slices, or strips to become an amazingly satisfying diet snack. For a no calorie dipping sauce choose mustard to add a burst of flavour without additional calories.
Lean Meats are Ideal for Handling Hunger
Chocolate Yogurt: A Guilt Free Pudding Treat
Cocoa is widely recognized as a food with many nutritional benefits, rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins, what makes chocolate a diet no no is the high amount of sugar used to make it into a sweet chocolate treat.
For chocolate lovers who are trying to shed a few pounds it can be very frustrating to give up this confection even if it is only for a short while. Fortunately cocoa can be easily combined with a plain yogurt to create a creamy pudding like dessert that works nicely to satisfy a dessert lover's craving.
1 cup yogurt
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon sweetener (Your choice of maple syrup, sugar, honey, or artificial sweetener).
A tablespoon of cocoa contains only about 20 calories so combining a teaspoon or two with 1 cup of yogurt will not harm your diet plans. Most sweeteners run about 16 to 18 calories per teaspoon so a tiny bit of sweetener will be fine to add into your dessert as well. Try to limit it to a maximum of 1 teaspoon of sugar, honey, or syrup per cup of yogurt.
Mix your cocoa, yogurt, and sweet together and put in the fridge for a couple hours to chill. This setting time will help to allow the cocoa to blend more fully into the yogurt.
I generally consume 1/4 cup per serving but 1/2 cup each time will still be fine.
Surprisingly Healthy Weight Loss Snacks
- Probiotic Yogurt: Its creamy smooth texture is pudding like in nature so this food is wonderfully able to satisfy a craving for a sweet treat. However, it is what is hidden inside this food that is going to truly help your weight loss goal succeed. Our guts contain good and bad bacteria and we can kill these off when we consume some foods or medications they are sensitive to. Probiotics replace the good bacteria in our gut helping the entire intestinal system run smoother. Having a healthy gut can help you lose weight.
- Apple Sauce: Apples are loaded with flavour, fiber and nutrition so reach for one when you feel a craving coming on. For a different twist try apple sauce. It is simple to make and its creamy texture is pudding like in consistency which helps your mind turn this healthy food into a satisfying dessert treat. Despite what some recipes recommend applesauce does not require sugar for it to taste great. Pick up the unsweetened or make your own then add a dash of cinnamon and enjoy.
- Juice or Yogurt Popsicles: The good news is that these treats are slow to consume thus making them a snack that pampers you with its leisurely consumption. Made with healthy ingredients popsicles can be good for you. You can easily make your own so you control the ingredients that go into them. Stick to one a day and it can be a delightfully satisfying snack.
There are Many Reasons Why a Food is Filling
Sipping Can be Slow Savoury and Soothing
We all know the importance of drinking our 8 glasses of water a day but there are other benefits to that liquid too. Whether the beverage is hot or cold it can be immensely satisfying so keep one handy to sip on throughout the day. Below is a list of super good diet drinks that may help you out while you are trying to lose that weight.
- Herbal Tea: It is warm, relaxing, and comes in a variety of flavours. It is generally zero calories per serving so smile and enjoy this wonderful hot liquid treat. Tea can also be easily made into iced tea or tea popsicles if that is your preference.
- Soup broth: You can purchase powdered or liquid soup broths or you can make your own when you are cooking meat. Not only is this beverage highly satisfying it usually provides a good nutritional boost as well.
- Yogurt / juice / Vegetable Smoothies: Creamy and filling these help fill the tummy to tide you over to the next meal. They also are generally low in calories so relax and enjoy this drink.
- Lemon and Water: You can drink it hot or cold. The perfect beverage for when you have a cold it is also ideal when you are dieting and drinking more water than you otherwise would. Lemons are a diuretic so will help you flush excess water out of the body.
We Each Have Our Own Specific Weight Loss Goals
These Foods Satisfy the Crunch to Munch
Sometimes it is indeed all about the texture. Many of us are attracted to the character or consistency of a specific type of food. Smooth, creamy, crispy, crunchy, and chewy are various qualities of foods we consume and these factors can influence how much we will enjoy them
When a person feels deprived on their diet plan it can be because they miss a specific taste or texture that brings with it a satisfying pleasure while eating that specific item. For snackers this is often the crunchy munch factor found in many common snack foods.
It is also important to note that how leisurely we are allowed to consume our treats can also be a factor which makes us feel good about them.
- Popcorn: The good news is that you can still enjoy popcorn even if you are trying to lose weight. Air popped unbuttered popcorn is about 31 calories per cup. Skip the butter and you can enjoy 3 cups of popcorn for under 100 calories. Loaded with fiber this snack will also provide you with magnesium, iron, and vitamin B-6. It will also help to satisfy your nibbling craving with the sheer bulk you are able to consume guilt free.
- Cereal: Most cereals contain about 110 to 125 calories per cup so skip the milk and munch on a bowl of dry cereal instead. Most cereals are fortified with vitamins and minerals so you don't have to fill guilty on this one.
- Eat a Pickle: There is nothing more satisfying than the crisp snap of a pickle as you bite into it. With about 16 to 20 calories per cup you won't gain a lot of weight by adding a pickle or two into your weekly snack routine. Just bear in mind that this is a high salt food so limit your intake so you won't have your body holding onto excess water.
Never Under Estimate the Power of Crisp
Five Small Meals a Day Versus Three?
Which brings me once again to the topic of dieting. Losing weight is a difficult adventure for most people but for snack lovers like myself it can be a nightmare come true. I belong to that group of people known for having a grazer type personality. Rather than consume 3 large meals each day I prefer instead to munch out on a variety of foods at random times and places.
Studies suggest that 5 small meals versus 3 large ones may not necessarily be a bad thing if it is what works for you. Either can work for weight loss so long as the total number of calories per day are lowered sufficiently to achieve weight loss.
So what are the benefits of eating 5 small meals daily vs our current use of 3 large meal sittings? Traditionally it has been presumed that eating smaller amounts of food more often would help to increase metabolism which could then aide in weight loss. It was also thought that consuming meals more frequently throughout the day could help to keep you feeling fuller and more satisfied so you would be less likely to over eat. If such is the case then snacking rather than gorging would be the preferred method of food intake.
New studies into smaller vs larger portioned meals throughout the day suggest that the true factors which aide in weight loss are as follows.
- A reduced calorie intake.
- The consumption of protein rich foods.
- Eating within an hour of waking.
- Not eating 2 hours before bedtime.
- Alternating amount of food consumed during different time periods ie: A cycling calorie diet.
So it all comes down to which method of food intake you prefer. If you are traditionally a snacker then continue to use the smaller meals more often approach while you diet. If you currently consume three large meals per day then continue this approach but reduce your portion size. Use whichever method works of food consumption that is traditionally best for you.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2018 Lorelei Cohen
What do You Munch on to Reduce Your Cravings?
Travel Chef from Manila on November 07, 2018:
These tips are really great. Many can't drop their snacking habits that can add up in their calorie count. However, finding the right foods to eat during their snack time will make a difference.
Elsie Hagley from New Zealand on October 28, 2018:
Great advise. As an elderly woman I eat often, only small amounts it's the only way I can avoid not suffering with indigestion, my weight never changes which is great as most elderly people do put on weight.
Virginia Allain from Central Florida on October 16, 2018:
Sigh, I've reached my highest weight ever and desperately want to lose some of it. These tips sound great.
Margaret Schindel from Massachusetts on October 16, 2018:
These are wonderful suggestions for healthy snacks! I am using many of these to help me transition to a more nutritious, lower-calorie way of eating (with occasional treats!). I definitely need to try making chocolate yogurt - sounds excellent!
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 16, 2018:
All of your tips are excellent. Eating more often to rev up metabolism is one thing that many people, including me, should find the time to do.
Donn McFAll on October 16, 2018:
I'm psyched up about getting started.
katrinasui on October 15, 2018:
My friend. I have started wiring again on Hubpages after 6 years. You wereone of the best hubbers at that time and after reading this hub i am proud to say that you are still one of the best writers. Keep it up my friend!