When it comes to snacking, you have some important choices to make. Unhealthful snack choices pack in extra calories without doing much to support your well-being. But smarter snack choices offer benefits that can help trim your waistline.
Candy, chips, and other junk food are a significant source of empty calories. By empty, we mean these foods provide calories from excess fat and sugar, but also provide very few of the nutrients that your body needs. Choosing empty-calorie snacks might give you a momentary lift, but these foods are likely to leave you feeling unsatisfied and low on energy a short time later.
Relying on empty-calorie snack choices can create a habit of unhealthy snacking that piles on excess calories and leads to weight gain. But by skipping the empty-calorie snack options in favor of more satisfying choices, snacking can become a valuable tool to support your weight-loss goals.
Smarter snacking can help you manage your appetite and fuel your metabolism while keeping calories at a sensible level. Before you can put snacking to work for your weight-loss goals, you need to know what makes a smart snack choice. Here are three guidelines to follow on your way to smarter snacking.
1. A smart snack satisfies until mealtime.
Snacking to control feelings of hunger can be an important part of a healthy weight-loss strategy. If you allow yourself to become excessively hungry between meals, your appetite may override your better judgment. It’s much easier to make sensible choices when you don’t have to contend with a growling stomach. Protein-rich snacks are your best option for managing appetite effectively, since protein helps you stay satisfied longer than other types of snacks (1, 2). Plan on a protein-packed snack to tide you over between meals and you will be able to keep your appetite in check.
2. A smart snack fuels your body.
Eating something small every few hours helps keep your body in muscle-building and fat-burning mode. Every time you eat a meal or a snack, your body spends some energy to convert that food to fuel for your metabolism in a process called thermogenesis. Protein has the biggest impact on thermogenesis, firing up your metabolism to a greater extent than both carbohydrates and fats (3).
3. A smart snack has a sensible portion size.
To make snacking an effective part of your weight-loss strategy, choose snacks that provide an appropriate number of calories to help you meet your weight-loss goals. Empty calories from typical snacks add up quickly, but an oversized portion of even the most balanced snack foods will still provide more calories than your body needs. Aim for snacks that are between 100 and 200 calories to help you stay within your target calorie range. Portioning snacks ahead of time is an easy way to keep them at a sensible size.
Smarter Snacking with Whey Thins
A sensible-sized snack that is packed with protein is Gluten-Free Whey Thins. Each bag offers 10 grams of protein per serving. Whey Thins are available in both Barbecue and Sour Cream & Chive flavors. They’re a satisfying choice for smart snacking that can help you manage your appetite and fuel your body between meals with perfectly portioned, 100-calorie packs. Whey Thins satisfy cravings for savory flavors while helping you steer clear of empty-calorie snack foods.
Snacking can support your efforts to slim down if you make smart choices. So again, skip the typical, empty-calorie snack foods in favor of snacks that offer satisfying protein at a sensible portion size as a good way to help you meet your weight-loss goals.
- McCrickerd K, Yeomans MR. Optimising foods for satiety. Trends in Food Science & Technology. 2015;41:149-160
- Leidy HJ, Campbell WW. The effect of eating frequency on appetite control and food intake: brief synopsis of controlled feeding studies. J Nutr. 2011;141(1):154-157.
- Acheson KJ, Blondel-Lubrano A, Oguey-Araymon S, Beaumont M, Emady-Azar S, Ammon-Zufferey C, Monnard I, Pinaud S, Nielsen-Moennoz C, Bovetto L . Protein choices targeting thermogenesis and metabolism. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Mar;93(3):525-34.