The words “weight-loss” and “snacks” often appear in the same sentence. The problem is when most of us read those two words together, they tend to inspire thoughts of foods that are "tasteless," "cardboard-like," and "completely unsatisfying."
Passionless and loveless…
Am I right? We accepted this “bland” food as sort of a penance for enjoying all the “good stuff” that got us fat in the first place… At least that’s the way I felt about it until I was able to break (or at least curb) the habit for empty calorie foods in favor of these five weight-loss friendly snacks that aren't just nutritious but also delicious!
What’s the key criteria that makes them so special, you ask?
Well, I looked for whole foods that are nutrient-dense where a little goes a long way; foods that contain protein and/or fiber.
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 little aberrations are probably pretty fattening. (can you tell I never really liked them?)
Anyway, studies have shown that people who eat nuts tend to be healthier and leaner.
Plus, 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 nuts are loaded with.
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!
Coaching Tip: Put a handful of unsalted/unsweetened nuts into a small container and keep them at your desk, purse (if you use one of those), or gym-bag for a quick snack when you need it.
As with nuts, there are studies that suggest that people who tend to eat more fruit, tend to be healthier, too. (I’m sure you’re not too surprised!)
Now before you carb-phobic, paleo-types start hounding me about the sugar – let me explain…
Yes, fresh fruit contains sugar, but whole fruits (Now, I'm not talking juice or sweetened dried fruit, here.) 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 and high in volume which means it can fill you up way better than a candy bar can.
Fruit fiber is also 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."
That’s a win-win, if you ask me…
Try a variety of fruit (apples, pears, berries, etc.) and pair that with a handful of nuts.
Coaching Tip: Can't do fresh? Try frozen. Plus, they're already chopped for you so their easy to pack into your lunch or flavor-chill a large glass of water by using them as ice-cubes you can snack on when the water’s gone.
This is a powerhouse favorite…
Chia is not only high in fiber (I mean REALLY high in fiber), but it also contains protein and omega-3 fatty acids (yes THOSE omega-3’s!). Then, there’s also the antioxidants, calcium, and magnesium…
So, can you see how awesome these tiny, little guys are?
Coaching Tip: I like putting two tablespoons in a container with ½ cup of nut milk, with ¼ cup of rolled oats and half a sliced banana. I store it in the fridge overnight, and boom! A premade breakfast for the next morning. Sometimes I add in some berries, chopped nuts, and/or cinnamon, too!
Boiled or poached eggs
“The incredible, edible egg…” Marketers really nailed it with that phrase. Eggs are packed with nutrition and most of it is in the yolk. So, don’t toss it out!
Eggs contain a lot of high-quality protein and a good amount of vitamins and minerals.
And recent research debunked that myth that the cholesterol in the yolks was responsible for elevating ones cholesterol and risk for heart disease.
Yup, you read that right! Egg yolks DO NOT cause elevated cholesterol!
Coaching Tip: Boil a bunch of eggs in one session and keep them in your fridge for a super-quick (and nutritious) snack! You can even pre-shell and store them in individual ‘snack-bags’ to take them with you, too!
I don’t need to tell you how great these are for you, but just maybe I need to sell you on the delicious “snack-ability” of these nutritional powerhouses.
Like fruit, 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), and snack away.
Coaching Tip: Use a bit of dip if you must, but be open to options like Greek yogurt or hummus. Have you put almond butter on celery? No? Well, I think it’s pretty tasty… ;-)
Now, I know you know all of this stuff already. Perhaps you are a just bit disappointed that I didn’t have some new, pre-packaged, processed “diet” food snacks to hock your way? Well, in that case, I’m sorry… The truth is; good old, tried-n-true, whole foods are still the best bet at losing (and maintaining) weight and improving your overall health.
Go ahead and try one, or more, of these healthy snacks. Prepare them the night before if you need to. You’ll find them to be a quick alternative to fast foods and snacks, and not only will they help shrink your waistband, but because of their nutrient density and low-cost, they’ll help fatten your wallet, too!