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Snack Smart: 7 snacks for energy and weight loss

Everyone loves a yummy snack. There’s a million options for those mid-morning and mid-afternoon nosh times. Choosing wisely can be tricky --- snacking can improve or derail your overall health. Healthy snacking sustains energy levels and leads to successful weight loss. On the flip side, careless snacking results in energy slumps and extra pounds.

What do I mean by careless snacking? Careless snacking simply “fills a hole” in your belly without providing any long-term benefit (and maybe causing harm). Very few people reach for healthy snacks like veggies, fruits, and nuts --- instead, they snack on calorie-empty foods lacking in nutrients. Empty calories contribute to your total caloric intake but supply little or no nutritional value. Foods like chips, crackers, cookies, and candy cannot be effectively used for energy production; these calories offer no fuel and as a result, are stored as fat.

How do we snack smart? Replace calorie-empty snacks with nutrient-dense snacks.

Pre-snacking advice

Before you devour a 500-calorie “snack”, ask yourself a few questions. Am I bored? Am I thirsty? Am I stressed? Am I tired? If you’re honest, you’ll be surprised at how often you’re grabbing a snack for all of the wrong reasons.

Successful snacking tips

·      Never snack on carbohydrates alone (yes, this includes fruit). Why? Fruits are loaded with sugar and can cause a drastic rise in blood sugar, which leads to increased cravings, overeating, and weight gain. There are two exceptions: green apples and berries.

·      Always look for a protein and/or a healthy fat.

·      Avoid snacks with simple carbohydrates such as: yogurt, chips, bread, baked goods, most energy/protein bars, and candy.

·      Snack mostly on veggies. You can’t go wrong with veggies!

·      Limit your snack to 200-300 calories.

·      Avoid highly-processed options that come in a bag, box, or can. Processed foods contributed to weight gain, sickness, and disease.

7 healthy snacks

·      Jerky or meat sticks (organic is best). Both jerky and meat sticks can be loaded with sugar and MSG, so choose wisely.

·      Hard-boiled eggs.

·      Veggies and hummus.

·      Nuts. Almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, cashews, pistachios, and Brazil nuts are the best.

·      Apples with almond butter.

·      Avocado with sea salt.

·      Energy bars. Be careful with energy bars! Watch out for sugar overload. Here’s a few I recommend:

o   Cocochia Bar

o   Epic Bar

o   Quest Bar

o   Onnit Bar

o   PaleoLife Bar

o   Simple Squares Bar

Snacking should be enjoyable. Snacking can be beneficial to our health if we choose wisely. Make each nibble count!

nutritionCassidy Wendell