We've all heard that snacking is great for the metabolism...but have you taken it too far? In other words, your excessive snacking may be killing your fitness results. Let's face it, there are only so many extra calories that the body can take before it adds those on as unwanted fat. Even if you're eating perfectly healthy meals and putting in your time at the gym, if your snacking is out of control then your results will be disappointing.
Here's what you need to know to avoid The Snack Trap:
1) Calories Count. Even when you're snacking on "healthy" food, you've got to keep track of how many calories that you're taking in. Almonds are healthy, but if you down 800 extra calories in them you'll quickly gain weight.
2) Fill Up on Protein & Fat. A lot of well-meaning people are still afraid of fat. They think that if their snack is high in fat then it will end up on their body as fat. This is simply not true. Healthy fat, such as avocado or almonds, is a wonderful thing to snack on as it fills you up and keeps you full longer.
3) Avoid Sugar Calories. Sugar is an awful thing to snack on when weight loss is your goal. Refined sugar is a catalyst for fat storage, so avoid any snack that contains sugar. Remember that eating sugar will satiate your hunger for a very short period of time, and then you'll quickly be hungry again.
4) Don't Be Fooled By 100-Calorie Packs. A popular marketing technique is to package junk food into 100-calorie packs. These could be crackers, cookies, chips...basically any guilty snack food you could think of. The premise is that since you're only eating 100 calories, the snack is healthy. I'm sorry, folks, but eating 100 calories of junk food is not a healthy snack. You are better off avoiding the junk completely and eating something wholesome.
5) Use The 'Is It Real' Test. As a rule of thumb, you should use the "Is it real?" test when deciding if a snack is worth eating. The test goes like this: If your snack can go bad, then it's good for you. If your snack can't go bad, then it's bad for you. The idea is to eat fresh, real foods that are unprocessed and wholesome. These real foods are naturally filled with fiber, vitamins, and minerals and will assist you in achieving your fitness goals.
6) Avoid Refined Carbohydrates. Processed and refined carbohydrates make up the bulk of popular snack foods. Take a look around the snack aisle at the grocery store and you will see that most packaged snacks are made with grains. When your goal is to lose weight and increase lean muscle then eating refined grains will work against you. If you only take one tip away from this article, let it be to remove grain-based snacks from your life. This single change could very well recharge your weight loss.
Now you know how to snack in a healthy way that will not derail your fitness goals. Remember that exercise plays a huge part in getting in shape and losing weight.
5 Fitness Snacks
- Hard Boiled Egg and Sliced Veggies
- Sliced Apple and Almond Butter
- Natural, Low Sodium Jerky
- Seasonal Berries with 1/4 cup of Almonds
- A Bag of Homemade Kale Chips