Snacks are a double-edged sword for many Weighthackers trying to lose weight. The wrong kind of snack can not only add empty calories to your day (and thus unwanted fat to your body), they can actually make you feel hungrier later on. But the right snacks can make you feel satiated, which means you’ll ultimately eat less and lose weight. So what are the right kinds of snacks to eat?
According to a recent presentation at the Institute of Food Technologists (yes, there are such things as food technologists) Annual Meeting and Food Expo, the snacks you want to focus on are things high in fiber like nuts and peanuts. The presentation was done by Roberta Re, Ph.D., nutrition research manager at Leatherhead Food Research in Surrey, England.
Re referenced a study in which participants who regularly consumed almonds as a mid-morning snack reported increased feelings of satiety “resulting in a reduced energy intake at lunch and dinner with no increase in overall” calorie intake.
I’m a big fan of eating snacks with nuts in them like Kind Bars or my new favorite, Health Warrior Chia Bars, which have Chia seeds in them. Chia seeds are loaded with, you guessed it, fiber.
Just be aware that you still have to watch how much of even a high-fiber snack you eat. If you just chow down on loads of almonds between meals, you’ll find yourself packing on pounds quickly because almonds have a lot of calories. A reasonable snack should be about 100-150 calories.
Pro Tip: Eat your snack with two big glasses of water. That will help you feel even more full.
All right Weighthackers, I know you were probably wondering today “would a small snack satiate me just as much as a larger one?” Well you’re in luck, because not only do I have an answer for you, it’s an answer you’re going to like.
The smart folks at Cornell University did some research and found out that, yes, small snacks are indeed as filling as large ones. Here’s a summary of what they learned (I added the underlines for emphasis):
The study found that, as expected, portion size has a direct impact on calorie intake – but it also discovered that portion size did not have a direct impact on the level of satisfaction of the person eating the snack. Researchers came to these conclusions after testing 104 adults, who were given large and small portions of the same snack. Those who ate large portions consumed 77 percent more calories than those who ate small portions. Yet, despite consuming substantially more calories, hunger pangs of people eating large portions decreased by the same amount as those eating small portions. In both conditions, craving tendencies were significantly decreased 15 minutes after eating.
This is another Weight Hack I use every day myself. Back when I was 65lbs heavier than I am today, I’d happily have eaten a standard size Hershey’s chocolate bar as a snack, which weighs in at 210 calories and has 24 grams of sugar (that’s the same as 4 packets of sugar…ugh). Now I buy individual squares of high-end dark chocolate (from Le Maison du Chocolat if you must know) and have one of those instead. I’m just as satisfied and I’m only eating about 30 calories, which makes it win-win in my book. And oh, I’m also 65lbs lighter!
So next time you go for your usual snack, try only eating half of it and then put the other half out of sight. If you wait 15 minutes, there’s a pretty good chance you won’t want the rest.
Bonus Weight Hack: You can also try drinking a big glass of water with your half-snack, which will make you feel even more full.