The best snacks for weight loss are the ones with low calories, low carbohydrates, nutrient-dense, low fat, high fiber, and high protein. Here is how you can continue snacking during your weight loss journey:
Set Your Daily Calorie Count
Use the Haris Benedict formula to calculate how many calories you are consuming for maintain your current weight.
For women: BMR = 655.1 + (9.563 x weight in kg) + (1.850 x height in cm) – (4.676 x age in years).
For men: BMR = 66.47 + (13.75 x weight in kg) + (5.003 x height in cm) – (6.755 x age in years).
Now you must constantly be on a calorie deficit to effectively lose weight. Your body will start using the stored fats to maintain your current basal metabolic rate. Any snack with calories exceeding the daily goal will have to be burned through exercises that increase the body’s energy demands, and subsequently the basal metabolic rate.
Now that the physiology of weight loss is clear, let’s look at some low-calorie snacks:
Meal Replacement Nutrient Bars and Shakes
Meal replacement nutrient bars (like the ones offered by Kindsnacks or Jecabar) and shakes are getting more popular among weight-conscious people. These bars come with pre-counted calories – usually not exceeding more than 300. Moreover, they are healthy and nutritious because they’re fortified with vitamins and minerals according to your daily requirement. Thus, losing weight may cause complications like lethargy and dull skin, but with the supplements in these meal replacement bars and shakes, one can lose weight in a healthy manner. Make sure you’re consuming meal replacement bars and shakes only once a day instead of replacing all meals with them.
Fruits are the best snacks, but be careful about consuming the ones with high-calorie counts such as mangoes and bananas. Sour fruits such as oranges, strawberries, kiwis are great for weight loss due to their decreased calorie counts. On other hand, avocados have been sensationalized as the go-to snack due to their additional health benefits. Make sure that you are consuming fresh fruit instead of fruit juices. The latter does not contain any fiber and can make you feel hungrier.
Vegetables such as cauliflower, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, and cabbage are rich in fiber. Thus, salads containing these vegetables are filling and essentially contain minimal calories. Other vegetables like olives, mushrooms, and spinach can be added to meals to make them more filling and nutritious, but low in calories. Make sure that if you’re opting for salads as snacks, use minimal or no sauces and artificial flavors. These are rich in sugars that can add to your total calorie count. Additionally, they contain preservatives that are harmful to your health.
High-Protein Greek Yogurt
Research in obese women found that snacking on high-protein yogurt suppressed hunger. Hunger and satiety play a huge role in weight management, hence Greek yogurt with increased protein content has been recommended by researchers as an ideal snack.
Pumpkin, Sunflower, Chia, and Flaxseeds
Snacks are essentially used for curbing cravings and filling up your belly for increased satiety. Various seeds are becoming more popular as a snack for this reason. Pumpkin seeds can be roasted and eaten as snacks. They are rich in since and protein. The former helps in increasing the basal metabolic rate.
Sunflower seeds are a great source of antioxidants, copper, and folate that can be rated on their own or in salads.
Chia seeds are high in protein and promote satiety and as well as post-workout muscle recovery.
Flaxseeds also suppress hunger but have the added advantage of regulating sugar and fats in the body.
Baked Vegetable Chips
On the occasions when you’re craving potato chips, you can opt for baked vegetable chips made with low-fat butter or olive oil. Zucchini, eggplant, carrot, kale, parsnip, and taro are some vegetables that make great chips as snacks.
These make a great nutritious snack if consumed in lesser quantities. A handful of mixed nuts have several benefits and can be added to salads or oatmeal. They are high in fiber and can keep you full for long hours. But they’re also high in fat and salt so they must be consumed carefully.
In conclusion, be very disciplined with your snacking and meal timings so that your body gets used to the change. The goal is to cut down calories for weight loss but not starve yourself.