Five Weight-Loss Friendly Snacks You Will Love
I just returned from a short 2 day stay in Las Vegas. If you’ve been there, you know its all about excess! Even though I like to indulge every now and then, I always balance it out with healthy options the rest f the day. There is no reason to turn an indulgent treat into a downward spiral that lasts days that lead to weeks and well, you know what I mean. So, when you’re staying in hotels, you don’t have the ability to cook your own meals. I am pretty good at maneuvering through a menu to create a healthy meal with the help of my server. But how much control do you really have over your vacation meals? In comes snacks. A must when you’re walking miles a day on the strip and all the other fun adventures that may be building up an appetite. Prep these items before you head out (pack a cooler if you’re driving). You’ll save time, money and your sanity!
Now, the words “weight-loss” and “snacks” often appear in the same sentence. But that might also bring thoughts of “tasteless,” “cardboard,” and “completely unsatisfying.” Right? Let me give you my best weight-loss friendly snacks that aren’t just nutritious but also delicious ( I packed several for my trip – and many are staples in my day to day)! What’s my criteria you ask? They have to be nutrient-dense whole foods where a little goes a long way; foods that contain protein and/or fiber.
1 – Nuts
It’s true – nuts contain calories and fat, but they are NOT fattening! Well, I’m not talking about the “honey roasted” ones, of course. Those probably are fattening. Studies show that people who eat nuts tend to be healthier and leaner. By the way, nuts also contain protein and fiber, which means a small amount can go pretty far in terms of filling you up. Not to mention the vitamins and minerals you can get from nuts.
Did you know that almonds have been shown to help with weight loss? At least 10% of the fat in them is not absorbed by the body, and almonds can also help to boost your metabolism!
Tip: Put a handful of unsalted/unsweetened nuts into a small container and throw it in your purse or bag.
2 – Fresh Fruit
As with nuts, studies show that people who tend to eat more fruit, tend to be healthier. (I’m sure you’re not too surprised!) Yes, fresh fruit contains sugar, but whole fruits (I’m not talking juice or sweetened dried fruit) also contain a fair bit of water and fiber; not to mention their nutritional value with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. And fresh fruit is low in calories.
Fiber is something that not only helps to fill you up (known as the “satiety factor”) but also helps to slow the release of the fruit sugar into your bloodstream and reduce the notorious “blood sugar spike.” Win-win! Try a variety of fruit (apples, pears, berries, etc.) and pair that with a handful of nuts.
Tip: Can’t do fresh? Try frozen. Plus, they’re already chopped for you.
3 – Chia Seeds
This is one of my personal favorites…
Chia is not only high in fiber (I mean HIGH in fiber), but it also contains protein and omega-3 fatty acids (yes THOSE omega-3s!). As well as antioxidants, calcium, and magnesium. Can you see how awesome these tiny guys are? They also absorb a lot of liquid, so by soaking them for a few minutes, they make a thick pudding (that is delicious and fills you up).
Tip: Put two tablespoons in a bowl with ½ cup of nut milk and wait a few minutes. Add in some berries, chopped fruit or nuts, and/or cinnamon and enjoy! Here’s a link for some delicious recipes.
4 – Boiled or Poached Eggs
Eggs are packed with nutrition and most of it is in the yolk. They contain a lot of high-quality protein and a good amount of vitamins and minerals. Recent research shows that the cholesterol in the yolks is NOT associated with high elevated cholesterol or heart disease risk. Yup, you read that right!
Tip: Boil a bunch of eggs and keep them in your fridge for a super-quick (and nutritious) snack (try them with a little cajun seasoning – yum)!
5 – Vegetables
I don’t need to tell you how great these are for you, but just maybe I need to sell you on the delicious “snackability” of these nutrition powerhouses. Veggies contain fiber and water to help fill you up, and you don’t need me to tell you about their vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, right? You can easily open a bag of baby carrots and/or cherry tomatoes and give them a quick rinse (they’re already bite-sized). Peeled and chopped jicama & cucumber sprinkled with a little chili and lime make another yummy snack.
Tip: Use a bit of dip. Have you put almond butter on celery? How about trying my hummus recipe below?
Go ahead and try one, or more, of these healthy snacks. Prepare them the night before if you need to. They will not be “tasteless,” like “cardboard,” or “completely unsatisfying.” Trust me.
Recipe (Vegetable Dip): Hummus
Makes about 2 cups
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained (keep liquid & set aside) & rinsed
⅓ cup tahini
1 or 2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt to taste
pepper to taste
Put all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. You may need to thin it out with a bit of the liquid you set aside from the can, so add it 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time and blend. Serve & enjoy!
Tip: Don’t like sesame? Use an avocado in place of the tahini, and olive oil in place of the sesame oil. Feel free to add your favorite spices like paprika and/or cumin. Sometimes I add in some fresh jalapeno or roasted bell pepper.