For those who can't go a few hours without a snack (guilty), the thought of giving them up to help get into shape sounds like a sick, sad nightmare.
Well, there's good news -- you don't have to. In fact, having healthy, portion-controlled snacks help to keep you satisfied between main meals so you don't reach for that enticing muffin or packet of chips.
"If the meal prior was not satisfying enough, blood sugar can drop and increase stress hormone output -- we may feel irritable, fatigued and, in some cases, faint," nutritionist and celebrity chef Zoe Bingley-Pullin told The Huffington Post Australia.
"Appetite may become distracting and we may crave quick sources of energy, such as sugar."
The four main benefits of healthy snacking
- Keeping blood sugar levels stable and hunger in check
- Reducing overeating at main meals
- Increasing overall nutrient intake
The optimal size of your snack depends on various factors, including your age, sex, physical activity level, height and weight, but there is a general rule to go by.
"It does depend on size of main meals and number of snacks, but as a general rule, not more than 200 calories," Bingley-Pullin said.
But that doesn't mean those 150-200 calories can be from any food. Here are the main traps people fall into when snacking, Bingley-Pullin explained.
- Consuming mostly nutrient-devoid snacks like lollies, soft drinks and flavoured milk
- Turning a snack into a meal and not adjusting the size of the next meal
- Eating mindlessly which may lead to overeating
- Not balancing a snack with protein, fats and carbohydrates.
Whether you need a snack to break up your morning or tide you over until dinner time, here at 10 delicious, healthy and filling snacks under 150 calories.
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