Tired of tasteless food, calorie counting and intermittent fasting? We are too.
So we asked a dietitian – how can you reach your weight loss goals while still enjoying the occasional snack or two?
Here’s what BreAnn Erickson, RDN, a dietitian with the Hartford HealthCare Digestive Health Institute in Shelton and Bridgeport, had to say about snack criteria and timing, and her go-to tasty treats in between meals.
What should I look for in a snack?
“The key is to be intentional about which snacks we choose,” says Erickson. “Even a small snack can pack a punch when it comes to nutrients. Look for a snack that offers both fiber and protein or healthy fats, and stick to a calorie goal of 150-200 calories per snack.”
Ingredients that are high in fiber include fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Incorporate protein and healthy fats with low fat dairy, whole nuts, nut butter or lean meat.
Planning your snacks goes a long way.
When it comes to snacks, planning is a must.
“I recommend planning for one or two snacks per day, and having them available whenever it would benefit you most,” Erickson says. For most people, that’s in the afternoon.
“There’s typically a large gap between lunch and dinner. Having a small snack in between will keep you from getting too hungry before dinner, which often leads to eating too quickly or overeating.”
An expert’s “go-tos”
Built up an appetite reading this far? Erickson offers these six easy snack ideas:
- Roasted chickpeas, lentils or edamame. Legumes are known for their fiber and protein, but offer a host of other benefits as well. They can lower cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure – and they taste great, too.
- “Nice” cream. This healthy take on ice cream consists of frozen blended banana with all-natural peanut butter. If that doesn’t sound sweet enough, try adding dark chocolate or berries.
- Hard boiled eggs. Packed with protein and easy to make in advance, hard boiled eggs make a great snack. Make it a meal by adding avocado or mixed vegetables.
- Yogurt or cottage cheese. If you’re never sure what to have for breakfast, try a parfait. Add fruit and granola, and suddenly breakfast might be your favorite meal of the day.
- Protein shake. Choose the ingredients you love – all protein shakes look different. Not sure where to start? Aim for at least 15 grams of protein, and less than 10 grams of total carbs per serving.
- Fruits or vegetables. At the risk of sounding like every other health blog, fruits and vegetables always make for a great snack. For a little flair, try pairing fruits with nut butter or vegetables with dips such as hummus or guacamole.
So if you’re tired of bland snacks (or worse, no snacks), try adding these healthy options to your rotation. Your taste buds will thank you – and your waistline will too.