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Week 39

Snack tips to help you get through the day

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By Lisa Spodak (ResultsNotTypical@worldnow.com)
Provided by WorldNow

Week 39 Weigh In:

Change this week:  -1 lbs
Change overall:  -61.5 lbs

I feel like I've been losing and gaining the same 2-3 pounds for a while now.  It's frustrating, but I'm trying to take it in stride and I'm hoping that my loss this week is the first of a streak!

A few months ago, I did a story on tips for great breakfasts to get your day going.  Today, I'm going to focus on snacking.

I'm definitely a grazer and snacker, so I was pretty excited when I started trying to lose weight and learned that the prevailing opinion these days is that snacking is an important part of weight loss.

A Mayo Clinic article about snacks says that "mini meals several times a day can help manage hunger and reduce binging." 

And according to the McKinley Health Center at the University of Illinois, "snacks can help you meet healthful guidelines for grain, vegetable, fruit, calcium and protein intake... and promote good health and add pleasure to life."

With the additional advice from McKinley to "snack with variety, balance and moderation in mind," I turned to my friends Laura and Danny for some of their favorite snack ideas.

When pondering snacks, Laura says that when she's not actively counting calories and dieting, she goes for long periods of time between eating.  But, when she is counting and tracking her intake, she needs food approximately every three hours.

"In a perfect day, I get three snacks," she explains.  "One between breakfast and lunch, one between lunch and dinner, and one after dinner."

Some of her favorites include:

  • Popcorn:   Two tablespoons of kernels air-popped with salt only (no butter!), or one of the Orville Redenbacher's 100-calorie microwave bags. The best part about popcorn is that you get a LOT of food for your calories as long as you prepare it thoughtfully.
  • Fruit/veggies:  It's easy to pack a quick snack of carrot sticks, sliced bell peppers, apple slices, oranges, or anything else you like. My favorite is the banana because it comes in its own travel case. Fruits and veggies are high in fiber and just generally good for you. Be careful if you buy canned - there are a lot of hidden additives which can sabotage a good snack.
  • Puffins brand cereal (or other high-fiber, low-cal cereal):  I like Puffins best because they are organic and delicious, but a cup or two of any high-fiber cereal makes a great snack. I measure out a couple of servings into a plastic bag and keep it with me all day for snack-attacks.
  • Pretzels:  Chips are just never going to give you the bang for your buck that you want on a diet, so I try to cut them out entirely (except a bag of Baked Lays with my Subway sandwich now and then). Pretzels, on the other hand, are low in fat and calories, and most have a touch of protein. Careful to check the nutritional info though, or you may end up with a sneaky unhealthy butter pretzel!
  • Gum!  When in doubt, pop a piece of sugarless gum into your mouth. You'll get a bit of flavor and you're actually burning a few calories by chewing it - and it's the longest lasting snack out there. I'm sure I look like a gum-smacking teen from time to time, but who cares when your goal is health?

Danny also had a couple of great suggestions:

At home:  Egg whites in a cup.  Take ½ cup of egg whites (I like Egg Beaters) and put them in a coffee mug spritzed with cooking spray to keep it from sticking.  Add some spices (red pepper flakes, pepper, etc.) and then microwave with a little bit of low-fat cheese on top.  The egg will have the consistency of what you get on an Egg McMuffin and, with the cheese on top, it's a satisfying, tasty low-calorie option.

At work:  My favorite is celery with low-fat dressing.  Celery combines the two things I'm usually looking for -- it fills my need for the action of eating and makes me feel full.  It's a notoriously low-calorie option and can be incredibly satisfying.

As I look around my desk, I can see traces of some of my own favorite snacks:

  • A fruit salad purchased at the deli where I get my breakfast in the morning
  • A wedge of Laughing Cow cheese spread on Kavli crispbread crackers
  • Raw veggies with low-fat salad dressing for dipping
  • A small can of tuna packed in water
  • A slice of light, multi-grain bread with a tablespoon of natural peanut butter
  • Sliced red, orange and yellow bell peppers
  • Raw string beans
  • A package of instant oatmeal

Do you have some favorite snacks to recommend?  Share them by emailing me at resultsnottypical@worldnow.com and I'll post some here.

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