Weight loss is all a matter of consuming less calories than you use.
This does not mean you can or should stop eating. It is critical that you consume the right amount of vitamins and minerals to enable your body to continue functioning properly, but eliminate the extra calories that your body not only doesn’t need, but actually does not want. How can you achieve proper nutrition with low calories, while still feeling full?
The answer is increasing nutrient-dense foods and decreasing calorie-dense foods, while still maintaining high levels of protein. Nutrient-dense foods include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, nuts and seeds. Calorie-dense foods are meats, full-fat dairy products, refined grains, and (of course) sweets and fats.
It can be hard, however, in this busy working society to have time for healthy snacks. With McDonald’s at every corner, and 7/11’s present at every gas stop, it becomes more easy to grab a burger or a bag of M&M’s rather than chow down a pre-made sack of carrots (plus, it doesn’t taste as good – at first).
But, with a little added effort, eating healthy snacks can not only help promote weight loss, but can also lighten the load on your wallet, as well as better your overall mental health. Here are some snack recipes I’ve incorporated into my everyday life which have done just this:
Nutty Trail Mix
½ cup lightly salted or plain almonds ½ cup lightly salted/plain sunflower seeds ½ cup pine nuts (low salt) ½ cup peanuts (low salt) 1 cup whole grain cereal (like wheat or corn chex) ¼ cup raisins ¼ cup craisins Nuts are high in fiber and protein, and are therefore a perfect snack for feeling full for long periods of time.
They are also good sources of vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, and other essential nutrients for mental and physical body functioning. Introducing raisins and craisins into the mix boosts the vitamin content to also include vitamin C and other antioxidants. To save time and money, buy the ingredients in bulk quantities, mix, then store in individual packages, to use as easy grab-and-go snacks.
Hummus Dip and Veggies
1 can chickpeas ¼ can of canned chick pea water 2 minced cloves garlic 1 TBSP olive or sunflower oil 1 TBSP tahini (almond or peanut butter possible substitutes) Dash salt Assorted veggies for dipping (carrots, celery, bell peppers, cucumbers, broccoli) Blend all ingredients in blender or food processor. Chickpeas are rich in protein, fiber and nutrients.
By substituting hummus for your typical veggie dressing (like ranch or bleu cheese) you lower your caloric intake, increase your protein and fiber consumption (making you feel fuller, longer), while also benefitting from the cholesterol-lowering, blood-sugar controlling, digestion-supporting garbanzo bean. Again, make a large batch weekly, and store in a tupperware in the fridge (at work!) for quick and easy access.
Homemade Veggie Juice
2 tomatoes 2 carrots 1 stalk celery 1 handful spinach ½ green pepper ½ cucumber Juice all in a juicer, or blend in a blender, then strain pulp out. Juicing can be more time-consuming, if you let it be. However, if you make a double batch of juice in the morning, it can and will store for up to 24 hours (in sealed containers).
So, if you make yourself a juice for breakfast, make it a double, and have a afternoon snack with the leftovers. Your body will thank you when it has access to so many antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. So stop the habit of fast food binges. You may need food fast, but that does not mean you need fast food.
Plan ahead, and prepare healthy snacks to save you when the munchies hit. just remember: high fiber, high protein, nutrient-dense, and low calorie foods are what are needed for healthy snacks for weight loss.