Friday, September 30, 2011

Weight Loss Help and Tips

Weight Loss Help and Tips

13 Healthy snack ideas for weight loss

Posted: 29 Sep 2011 11:22 PM PDT

To help you stay within your weight loss goals we have gathered 13 healthy snacks for weight loss you can safely try out without the risk of gaining extra weight. The usual source of those extra and often unhealthy calories is the 'snack time'. I like to say that healthy or not if you can avoid snacks then do avoid them all together. If you are following a healthy balanced diet plan then you don't need to snack; you are providing your body with enough calories and food to take you through the day.

However, I must admit that it is not always that simple. I am the first to put my hand up and say that I forever struggle to have nice, easy, healthy snacks which will not topple my calorie counter.

After long planning, I have collected 13 healthy snacks for weight loss to try out. I am employing a 'kiss', 'marry' 'avoid' system. I am actually stealing this phrase from a British TV series but I think it works great when it comes to choosing foods. So for my version of choosing snacks 'kiss' means eat in moderation; it could be that they are either high in calories or may not be as good if consumed in large amounts. 'Marry' as much as you like and it is for life (these are the best snacks for weight loss) and 'avoid' I think is self-explanatory.

Healthy snack foods for weight loss

1. Vegetables. (Marry)

Vegetables as a healthy snackVegetables can make a great snack. They are low in fat and depending how you have them they can be very low in calories. There is a huge variety of vegetables and there are numerous different ways in having them as a snack which means that they can cover most tastes. You can eat them raw, cut them into sticks or as part of a small salad or grill them, boil them and so on.

Above all most vegetables are full of fibre, minerals, antioxidants, vitamins and so on. In simple words they can be all around rich in nutrients and can be very beneficial to health.

Why Not…cut carrots, celery cucumber and peppers into strips and have them with homemade salsa (pre-prepared dips can be high in sugars and preservatives).

Why Not… slice courgettes (zucchini) aubergine and peppers and grill them. You can eat them on their own or with some low fat cheese.     

2. A bag of salad (Marry)

Salad bagOk technically it is the same as vegetables. This snack is for those who pick and are likely to go for a packet for crisps. Someone will argue that picking on a bag of salad is not the same as picking on a bag of crisps. Well no it is not, salad is healthy, very low in calories, contains water which help you keep hydrated, does not contain massive amounts of trans fats, or salt. I can go on and on… I personally think is tasty as well.

3. Dried mixed nuts (Kiss)

Mixed nuts for snackAnother healthy snack for weight loss, which can be nutrient rich, is easy and can make you feel full. However, dried nuts can be rich in fat and calories, so do eat them in moderation. For example 187g of mixed nuts can contain 800kcal, which could be half of your daily calorie needs and can contain 70g of fat, so aim for just a handful. In addition, many of the mixed nuts sold in shops may be roasted in vegetable oils, which can increase trans-fat content, or contain large amounts of salt. Read the label and try to aim for the dry roasted, without added salt or uncooked.

Nutritional values, as well as calorie content will depend on the type of nuts you choose and how they have been prepared. The below table includes an example of some of the nutritional information for dry roasted mixed nuts with no added salt.

Nutrition data for dry roasted mixed nuts, no added salt. (187g serving)
Calories 814kcal
Total Fat 70g Of which saturated 9g
Total carbohydrate 35g
Fiber 12g
Protein 24 g
Folate 68.5mcg
Calcium 95.9mg
Iron 5.1mg
Magnesium 308mg
Zinc 5.2mg
Phosphorus 596mg
Potassium 818mg
Sodium 16.4mg

Nutrient data taken from out diet and exercise planner

4. Fruit (Kiss)

Healthy weight loss snackYou must have heard from just about everywhere how important it is to eat loads of fruit and veg. so it may come as a surprise that I actually say in moderation instead of eat ample. Fruit are packed with nutrients such as vitamins, antioxidants and minerals and undoubtedly there should be part of a healthy balanced diet. My 'in moderation' does not mean now and then and if you can have a fruit a day please do.

The only issue with fruits is that they can contain quite a lot of sugars. Sugar content as well as nutrient content will depend on the kind of fruit. Do include them in your daily diet having a large variety, and do have them as a snack, however, do not base your diet in large amount of fruit as you may find yourself consuming quite a lot of sugar.

Moreover, be aware that just because a food item contains a fruit is not always a healthy option. For example an apple pie is not a fruit or a healthy weight loss snack.

Why Not…Have a bowl of fruit salad. Try avoiding adding sugar or fruit juice from a carton or bottle. Use the juices of the fruit or squeeze an orange. You can sprinkle a few seeds and/or dried nuts (remember in moderation).

 Why Not…Freeze fruit and use them to blend them into a refreshing smoothie or to replace an ice cream craving. 

5. Olives (Marry)

OlivesI must say that olives are my favourite and I can eat the whole big jar in one sitting. If you do eat them to that extend they can add up to a lot of calories but if you just have them as a snack or to complement a salad then they are great. Olives is a main element of a Mediterranean type of diet and they are in general low in carbohydrate content and a source of monosaturated fats. Olives also contain a variety of different nutrients and they do come in a large variety of sizes, and kinds which means you have different tastes to choose from.

Why Not…enhance the taste of olives and make them more interesting. Keep them in a jar with olive oil and add garlic and herbs, or vinegar or even chilli (allow a couple of days the different tastes to blend).    

6. Cheese (Kiss)

CheeseAgain with cheese you have loads of variety and tastes so you can find what rocks your taste buds. It can be high in saturated fats and calories depending on the type of cheese. As a general rule white cheeses tend to be lower in fat. That does not mean that you cannot enjoy the rest just keep it in moderation. In addition, be aware that some blue cheeses may have a strong smell and may not be the best snack choice in a working environment.

In general, be aware of the fat content and how much cheese you consume. You can combine cheese with some rye crackers or olives or a piece of ham and it will make a good healthy and easy snack.

7. Yogurt (Kiss)

Yogurt with fruitsSimilarly to cheese be aware that it can be high in saturated fat content but can get the low fat versions. Go for natural yogurts and try to avoid the fruity or the ones which come in different tastes (i.e. toffee, vanilla etc) as in general they tend to have preservatives and sugars and do try adding loads of sugar in it or different fruit sauces, marmalade and so on.

Yogurt can be an easy and versatile healthy snack solution.

Why Not…Make your own fruit yogurt by adding fresh fruit.

Why Not… freeze mixed yogurt with fruit and have it instead of a sweet snack or on a hot summer's day. 

8. Fizzy zero (Kiss)

Fizzy drinksBy fizzy zero I mean all the fizzy drinks which have zero sugar. You may not necessarily want something to eat but do want something to taste. Moreover, thirst can sometimes be mistaken with hunger and is good to have a drink first before attacking the snacks. Ideally is best to have water but I totally understand that some people like to have a tastier drink. If you are a fan of fizzy drinks the ones in the zero or diet category usually contain miniscule amount of calories.

Do not go overboard with them as they do contain sweeteners and there has been quite a lot of controversy regarding their safety in terms of health. But do keep well hydrated through the day and don't wait until you are thirsty to have a drink. My first recommendation again will be water and do keep fizzy drinks at bay.

9. Freshly squeezed juice (Marry)

Fresh juicesI had a friend who used to substitute her breakfast and snacks with a freshly squeezed juice. I wouldn't recommend going as far as that but you can definitely use it as a snack. As mentioned above is important to keep hydrated and thirst can be mistaken with hunger.

Try to avoid pre-packed juices as they are high in sugars and preservatives and quite honest fruit have lost most of their nutrients by the time it reached your glass.

Try mix mixing fruit and veg. together for less sugar content instead of just fruit. You can get a juicing book or even just search through the internet and you'll see there is a plethora of different recipes.

10. Rye crackers (Kiss)

Rye CrackersI call rye crackers my saviours and they are a sort of a lifeline for me. I always carry a few in my bag and I snack on them through the day. I spend most of my working day in my car and don't always have time for lunch so rye crackers are there for all day snacking, stomach settling, boredom munching and so on.

However, they can contain a lot of carbohydrates although it is less than a slice of bread and they tend to have low GL (glycemic index). You can combine them with a piece of cheese or ham or olives for a nice easy snack but try not to consume them in large amounts.

11. Eggs (Marry)

Hard boiled eggsEggs are not something which is often seen as a snack but more like a meal. Eggs are high in protein and can keep you full for longer. They are fussier to prepare and is not the sort of snack you just pick and go. However, you know you are likely to have a snack in work or through the day you can get them ready in the morning and take them with you. Hard boiled eggs can be a fast and filling snack.

Why Not…Have an 'eggy'. This is my favourite egg snack and my grandmother used to make for me when I was a child. Part boil (leave the yolk runny)2 eggs. Rough cut them in a bowl and mix with a piece of toast or 2 rye crackers. Add salt & pepper to taste and 1tsp of olive oil. Mix it all up.

It doesn't look as good but it tastes divine. Be aware it can be high in calories. 

12. Ham (Kiss)

HamA packet of ham can provide an easy and quick high protein snack. Different types can be processed and high in fat. Try to opt for fresher types, lean and maybe roasted or boiled. In general if it comes out of a tin tends to be processed, with added sugars and preservatives. Use ham in moderation.


13. Bread free sandwich (for desperate times)

Chicken saladThis is actually a trick I tend to do when I am desperate for something to eat. There are many of times where I find myself in the middle of a village with just a convenient store in site and I need to get a snack which I can eat while driving. If my only option is a sandwich I tend to get something which is easy to eat, like chicken salad, chicken and bacon, I remove the bread and eat only the filling.

Is not the best snack option and pre-packed sandwiches from shops may contain sauces such as mayonnaise, sugars, salt etc. Not the healthiest of all, and not the most economical, but this is a desperate solution. If you can't find anything else and you are desperate try that trick and you will be improving the carbohydrate and calorie profile of a sandwich.

The above 13 healthy snack ideas for weight loss are only a suggestion and you are always advised to consult a medical professional before making dietary changes if you have any health issues or concerns.

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