Being overweight is not only a problem that affects your self-esteem. It’s a health problem too. This is why medical experts have recently declared obesity as a disease, and not just another health problem. In one study (1), medical experts explain that we need to look at obesity as a preventable disease.
For some people, prevention is no longer an option. The World Health Organization (2) reports that over 1.9 billion people over 18 are overweight. These problems are no longer the only disease among adults, as there are about 38 million kids who have too much excess weight as well.
Losing weight can be exceptionally difficult. In one publication, it is reported that about 95% of all diets tend to fail (3). Even among those who are able to go down a few pounds, weight often returns within the first five years.
In this post, we’ll be looking at how snacks can be incorporated into your daily weight loss diet.
Snacking While Trying To Lose Weight
For many people, there’s nothing like a glazed donut at lunch. That rewarding feeling when you bite into the sweetness of the donut – it makes it worth it. Unfortunately, this is a sure way to throw the effort you’ve made on your diet thus far away. That donut is packed with empty calories and filled with carbs. These are your enemies when on a weight loss diet.
While a donut or pie is never a good option for a person who is trying to lose weight, it does not mean you have to starve yourself. There are still foods that you can eat and a wide variety of snacks you can take with you.
Smart snacking is the key when you want to reduce your body weight. Know what you can eat, but also understand what to avoid.
Start by eliminating the snacks that are causing weight gain. These tend to include:
- Process meats and other processed foods (4)
- Foods with excessive amounts of salt (5)
- Sweetened juices and soda
- Candy, chocolate bars, coated peanuts
- Cakes, pastries, cookies (6)
- Foods filled with unhealthy fats, like bacon strips
These are, of course, only a small example of foods that you need to avoid on a diet – and they are also the ones that often fill you up as a snack.
13 Snacks To Enjoy When On A Weight Loss Diet
Not all snacks are bad for you. In fact, there are some snack options that could even contribute to your weight loss journey. Knowing what to put into your lunch box is the first step to smart snacking.
In this section, we share a list of snacks that are perfect for anyone looking to lose weight. No matter your flavor preferences, there will certainly be something for you.
1. Apple Slices
An apple a day keeps the doctor away – it’s a fact proven through scientific research (7). Apples contain antioxidants known as polyphenols. Additionally, apples are also high in fiber (8). Both of these are important for a healthy gut. The antioxidants also protect against cancer and several forms of heart disease. About a medium apple, cut into thin slices, will do. The fiber contents of the apple will also help to keep you feeling full – which means fewer cravings while waiting for dinner.
2. Handful Of Nuts
Nuts are some of the healthiest foods that you can snack on. There are also many different types of nuts that you can choose from. Almonds are particularly common, but so are other varieties too. Each type of nut comes with its own benefits – so it’s better to add some variety to your snacking. Get yourself a pack of mixed nuts – preferably unsalted. Grab a hand full of mixed nuts and add them to your snack bag. You can then snack on these nuts as the day progress.
Nuts contain a lot of essential nutrients, including critical minerals. They are also quite rich in fatty acids, and nuts tend to be filling. This means you’ll feel full after having a few nuts. There are also studies that show nuts may be helpful in aiding your weight loss journey. (9)
3. Dark Chocolate
When trying to lose weight, milk chocolate is off the table. This is a sure way to increase your intake of what is called empty calories. In turn, you increase your chances of gaining more weight – instead of dropping pounds.
Dark chocolate, on the other hand, is a different story. If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth without gaining weight, pack a few pieces of dark chocolate. Make sure the dark chocolate has a minimum cocoa solid content of 70% (10). A higher percentage will be even better but could move more toward the bitter side.
The flavonoids in dark chocolate help to control your blood pressure levels. They also act as an antioxidant, improving your heart health. The cocoa content in dark chocolate will also give you a high dose of magnesium.
4. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is a flexible snack option – it’s easy to mix things up using cottage cheese and a few other weight loss-friendly foods.
Make sure you opt for a full fat cottage cheese variety. These have more fatty acids. In particular, you’ll be loading your body with conjugated linoleic acid (11), most often simply called CLA. Cottage cheese also helps you fill up on some high-quality protein. This makes it a filling snack – helping to reduce the risk of cravings during the day.
Add a few flax seeds to the cottage cheese, and top with a few sprinkles of cinnamon powder. This is a great snack option. You could also opt for some cinnamon flax seed pudding. It’s delicious and 100% diet-friendly.
5. Kale Chips
Kale is often called the healthiest vegetable on the planet – and for a good reason. Kale is an impressive food. It is high in antioxidants. Kaempferol and quercetin make up the majority of antioxidants in kale – both providing powerful antioxidant activities in your body. Additionally, kale is also high in fiber – an essential part of any weight-loss strategy.
You don’t want to eat kale raw, and cooking it up for lunch takes time. Thus, consider making your own kale chips. This is an excellent alternative to potato crisps – without the processed elements.
Mix kale leaves with olive oil and a small amount of salt. Add the leaves to the oven for just about 15 minutes – you’ll have a healthy alternative to potato chips on hand.
6. Greek Yogurt
Green yogurt is food often recommended to people who want to lose weight. It’s a plain type of yogurt that has no added flavorants, sweeteners, or colorants. This makes it a healthier choice – plus, with Greek yogurt, you get more of the goodness that yogurt is known for.
In particular, Greek yogurt is rich in probiotics. These are microorganisms, like bacteria, that are considered “good” for your gut. A healthy gut flora may help you lose weight more effectively. Furthermore, you may find that by balancing gut bacteria, your immune system is more effective at fighting against invading pathogens.
Greek yogurt contains a rich amount of protein too (12). This is a high-quality protein type. Furthermore, you also load up on potassium and calcium when you have Greek yogurt as a snack.
Mix in some berries and you’ll turn your Greek yogurt into a snack that fights against oxidative stress and free radicals.
7. Red Bell Pepper And Avo
Red bell pepper is often thought of as a food for cooking. Sure, it goes great with some pasta and in stir fry, but you don’t have to cook it every time. Having red bell pepper raw is a great option for a snack. It provides a refreshingly crunchy taste.
Red bell pepper contains a high amount of vitamin C. Eat a whole red bell pepper and you get 300% of your daily recommended intake for this vitamin (13).
There are other important nutrients and chemicals in red bell pepper too. Beta carotene, quercetin, and capsanthin are all potent antioxidants (14). Red bell pepper contains all three of these.
Combine your red bell pepper with some avo – or prepare a batch of guacamole for an interesting snack idea. The guacamole or avo adds some essential and healthy fats to the snack. Additionally, avo also contains fiber, which makes you full.
8. Mixed Berries
Mixed berries are not only a snack idea to be mixed with some yogurt. It’s also an excellent idea for a snack alone. You can add a few mixed berries to your lunchbox and snack on them as you work.
There are a few different types of berries that you can choose from. Blackberries, cherries, strawberries – these are only a few examples. Try to buy a container that gives you a variety of different berries. Then, add a mixture into your lunch box. This will add some variety to the flavor profile of your snack. It also adds more antioxidants. Berries are mostly low in calories too, which means they won’t mess up your daily caloric intake.
According to studies, it’s best to ensure the berries you eat have a wide variety of colors (15). This way, you add variation to the antioxidant contents you consume through these berries.
9. Peanut Butter
Who doesn’t love peanut butter? If you’re not allergic to peanuts, then consider adding some peanut butter to your lunch box. Take a look at the other snack options we’ve shared. Peanut butter goes great with a few apple slices or even some celery sticks.
You should note that peanut butter has quite a lot of calories. Thus, be careful when adding peanut butter to your snack routine. At the same time, in moderation, peanut butter is unlikely to cause weight gain.
Add about 15 grams of peanut butter to your snack box. Make sure you buy natural peanut butter that is not sweetened. This will ensure you do not overload on calories.
Peanut butter has added benefits. In one study, researchers show that peanut butter may reduce LDL cholesterol, as well as triglycerides. At the same time, peanut butter may help to elevate levels of HDL cholesterol – this is the good kind of cholesterol (16).
10. Celery Sticks
Celery sticks provide a variety of benefits and also offers an excellent snack for combining with cream cheese or peanut butter. Luteolin in celery sticks is a very beneficial compound. It is a natural antioxidant. The luteolin content in celery sticks has been associated with a reduction in inflammation (17).
Low-grade inflammation has been linked to obesity and diabetes, as well as cancer and heart disease. By keeping low-grade inflammation at a minimal, you would also be lowering your risk of these complications.
11. Cucumber Slices
Cucumbers are not only great for removing bags underneath your eyes. This is also an excellent snack for anyone who finds it hard to lose weight. One of the major benefits of cucumber is the low-calorie content.
What many people do not know is that cucumber is actually a very healthy snack. There is a compound, known as cucurbitacin E, proven to yield anticancer properties in the human body (18).
Not a fan of cucumber on its own? Try eating it with some hummus. This adds olive oil, garlic, and chickpeas to the mix. Hummus is a healthy snack with fatty acids and monounsaturated fats. It helps to lower inflammation, and it cares for your heart too
13. Cherry Tomatoes
Did you know that tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C? Most people don’t. In addition to vitamin C, tomatoes also help you load up on lycopene. This is a powerful antioxidant compound that helps to protect your body against oxidative stress. With this in mind, it means tomatoes might even help to lower your risk of cancer.
While beneficial, you may not prefer carrying large tomatoes around with you. Your lunchbox is likely too small, in fact. This is where cherry tomatoes come into the picture. They are loaded with the same nutrients and antioxidants but take up significantly less space in your snack box.
You can add a serving of mozzarella to your cherry tomatoes. This gives you additional vitamin B12, calcium, and some quality protein.
Weight loss doesn’t happen overnight. For some people, it takes years before they can reach their goal weight. Many diets, recipes, and programs are available – all promising to help you lose weight faster. When dieting for weight loss, snacking is often a difficult aspect of your daily life. By knowing what snacks are diet-friendly, you can keep your cravings at bay, without giving in to your sweet tooth. We shared some of the best snacks to keep on you for when the cravings start while trying to lose weight.