Here’s a fun fact for you: Eating actually burns calories. It’s no joke—5 to 15 percent of your daily energy expenditure is used digesting, absorbing, and storing the food you eat. It’s called diet-induced thermogenesis and it’s one of the reasons why smart snacking throughout the day can actually help you burn fat and lose weight.
Notice I said “smart” snacking. The types of foods you chose can make or break your diet. To help take the guesswork out of healthy snacking, I’ve put together a list of some of my favorites. Bon appétit!
Almonds. Nuts are one of the best snack foods around, and almonds top the list when it comes to health benefits. When hunger strikes eat ¼ cup of these raw or dry roasted, unsalted nuts. You’ll fill up and get plenty of heart-healthy magnesium and vitamin E to boot!
Edamame. Just ½ cup of these little soybeans provides 8 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. Better still, you’re eating just under 100 calories.
Celery With Peanut Butter. A stick of celery with a tablespoon or so of peanut butter combines fiber and protein for the perfect between-meal treat. Almond butter makes a nice substitution as well.
Cottage Cheese. A quarter cup of low-fat cottage cheese with chopped tomatoes, bell peppers, or a little salsa tossed in makes a wonderful snack. The cottage cheese provides the lean protein you need to stay satisfied and adding the fiber-rich veggies helps spruce up this otherwise bland snack.
Hard-Boiled Egg. If you’re looking for a low-carb, protein-rich snack, a hard-boiled egg fits the bill. At just under 80 calories, this snack will curb your appetite and help trim your waistline.
Snack-Size Protein Shake. A small portion of a meal replacement protein shake can make a great snack. Just aim for around 7-10 grams of protein and blend your shake with low-glycemic berries for added fiber.
Reduced Fat Cheese. A one-ounce portion of reduced fat cheese (the size of a pair of dice) gives you 6-7 grams of protein at around 80 calories. One of my favorites is string cheese. It’s tasty and easy to take with you for a snack on the run.
Vegetables With Hummus or Ranch Dip. Cut up some fresh broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, snap peas, bell pepper strips, or cauliflower flowerets and dip them in a little hummus or light ranch dip. The calorie count of the veggies is low, plus they are full of stick-to-your-ribs fiber. Two tablespoons of hummus contains about 60 calories while the ranch dip has about 80.
To learn more about smart snacking and weight loss in general, check out my book, The Whitaker Wellness Weight Loss Program.