Tips for Dieters - Making Smart Snack Choices
Written by Thin Thin
'The holidays are quickly approaching - And upon my diet, quickly encroaching.'
Many dieters make the mistake of cutting snack time from their diet plan.
Snacks are a bit like taking breaks during work time. A short break serves to revive the worker - increasing the rate and quality of their work, as well as boosting mental thought.
There is nothing like putting a worker in a great mood like a short break from the daily grind. And after that short break, most workers accomplish more than if they had skipped their break.
Snack time accomplishes much the same. Snack time revives the body by refueling the energy needs - assisting in keeping blood sugar levels in balance. Snack time also improves mood and sharpens our thinking ability. By adding healthy snacks to the daily diet, your odds of weight loss success zoom upwards and over the top of the Diet Rainbow!
So....which snacks are best for dieters (and non-dieters alike)?
Snacks filled with sugar and fat contain more calories than foods in their natural state. And although sweet, sugar is the most notorious form of 'empty calories' - calories which contain zero nutritional values. Yes, sugar can provide a swift burst of energy, but once that energy is used, the body experiences a sudden drop which impacts not only how the body feels, but also mood.
Therefore,we can determine that food snacks containing significant sugar content aren't the best choice - particularly when one is monitoring their daily calorie intake to achieve weight loss.
So, let's peer deeper into the Diet Looking Glass to discover more diet tips for snack time. Our body would not only be healthier when satisfied with wholesome snacks, we're apt to lose far more weight.
Let's examine the healthy food groups of the Food Pyramid and see which snacks contain fewer calories and remain satisfying for Snack Time:
Oh my - it's hard to beat nutritional values when it comes to the healthy Fruit Group and the healthy Vegetable Group! Great choices abound here for dieters. Almost-all raw fruits and vegetables are very low in calories. Fruits to consider which contain about 50 calories per serving include: 1 cup of strawberries, 1/2 cantaloupe, wedge of watermelon, 1 small peach, 1/2 apple, 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce, 1/2 large banana, 1/2 grapefruit and 2 plums or apricots.
As to vegetables, minimal calories are found in carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, tomatoes, radishes and celery. Consider a healthy dip for your raw vegetables such as a low fat, low calorie salad dressing served on the side, or light cream cheese, or light sour cream or sugar free, low fat yogurt.
The Protein Food Group consists of both animal and vegetable proteins and goes a long way in providing good muscle health. And speaking of muscles, muscle mass in the body takes more calories to support than fat - another great reason to add a healthy dose of activity and exercise to your daily diet. As to healthy protein choices for snack time, here are a few of our favorite proteins that are low in calories: boiled egg, 1 teaspoon of peanut butter OR cashew butter OR hazelnut butter spread onto a stalk of celery, and jerky which is naturally low in calories and fat.
Other foods which are good sources of protein include: oatmeal (4.6 grams of protein), 2% milk as well as reduced fat buttermilk (8.56 grams of protein), low fat cottage cheese (14 grams of protein per 1/2 cup), and Cheddar cheese (1 ounce contains 7 grams of protein).
The Grain Food Group has taken a beating in recent years due to low carb fad diet plans. It's important to keep in mind that the definition of 'carb' is not set in stone. In the most basic sense, there are two groups of carbs to consider when making healthy choices for your diet: Simple Carbs & Complex Carbs. Simple Carbs tend to contain sugar and they are often white in color - but again, this is not set in Carb Stone. Simple Carbs more often than not contain empty calories and offer little-to-none nutritional values to the body.
On the other hand, Complex Carbs generally contain whole grains and have much to offer in the way of nutritional values to the body, including boosting energy levels. Grain snacks to consider include: whole grain cereal, whole grain breads, whole grain crackers, 1/2 cup of brown rice, rice cakes, low fat popcorn (skip the butter and grab a hot-air popper).
Oh my, the Dairy Food Group is filled with healthy snack choices for dieters and offers many healthy benefits, particularly when it comes to bone health. Dairy Foods for snack time include: low fat cottage cheese, skim milk, reduced fat cheeses - including reduced-fat string cheese, reduced-fat cream cheese smeared on a few whole grain crackers, and low fat yogurt.
Another healthy benefit of skim, reduced-fat and low fat dairy products is that they generally contain more calcium benefits than their full-blown counterparts.
As to beverages that are enjoyed throughout the day, and also at snack time, opting for water is the best choice. When something more is desired, try tea which comes with many healthy benefits. If you must have a soda, opt for diet OR limit your soda consumption to one per day - and don't forget to account for the calories in your daily diet. As for juice, we recommend raw fruit or raw vegetables rather than their juices as juice can contain 2 or more times the number of calories than their natural counterpart.