Want to know a secret?
The most successful people in the world of weight loss are doing the one thing that virtually every dieter constantly tells themselves they must avoid.
That’s right – eating between meals. Munching. Nibbling. Call it what you want, eating multiple times per day can be a good thing for not only your weight loss, but your health as well.
You see, in today’s world where obesity levels are at an all time high, we’re constantly being told that eating between meals is a big no-no.
‘You’ll consume too many calories!’
‘The foods you eat will get converted to body fat quickly!’
‘You just aren’t active enough to need a snack!’
….and so on it goes. If you’ve heard these things before and have obeyed, sticking to your three square meals per day, you likely know what I’m talking about here.
I’m about to blow this theory out of the water.
Snacking is essential.
Read that again. ESSENTIAL.
If you don’t, you’re missing out.
To get a primer on proper snacking and to learn how to get ripped through snacking, check out this video below.
Okay, so now that you know that snacking is not long optional – it’s MANDATORY – you need to snack right. Especially if you want to learn how to lose weight properly.
Yes, if you feast on bags of Doritos, cartons of Ben & Jerry’s, or a few slices of your favorite pizza as a snack, you won’t be sporting a lean body any time soon.
This isn’t breaking news.
This is common sense.
You need to snack right for it to be of benefit to you. But not to worry, I’m going to teach you how to snack properly for weight loss success right here and now.
After you read this, there will be no more confusion on how you should snack to help burn fat faster.
Oh and did I mention you’ll feel better than every?
Let’s get started.
Okay, let’s start out with the ‘why’.
Apart from it’s delicious, of course!
Snacking offers a multitude of benefits – too many to miss out on.
By snacking regularly throughout the day, you will:
Sustain Steady Blood Glucose Levels
If there’s one problem with your conventional ‘3 squares per day’ approach it’s that your blood sugar levels fluctuate wildly throughout the day.
When you eat a meal, you’ll get an increase in blood glucose levels thanks to the digestion of the carbohydrates you ate.
This causes your levels to elevate, and with it, comes a higher amount of energy.
The problem is that if you plan on going five or so hours before you eat again, that increase isn’t going to sustain itself.
Soon, you’ll be crashing and crashing hard. After a few hours or so, your blood glucose levels will begin to drop and when they do, you’re going to experience hunger, irritability, low energy, and you may just find you get rather dizzy and light-headed.
All of these are characteristic of low blood glucose levels.
So what do you do? If you’re like many people, you seek out the fastest source of fuel available – more sugar.
Candy. Chocolate. Processed carbs. Your brain is on the hunt for these foods.
And when you eat them (usually at your next ‘allowed time to eat’), you’ll now get a big surge of blood glucose once again. Only now, since you’ve likely taken in so many carbs, that surge skyrockets.
As it climbs to remarkably high levels, your pancreas releases a hormone called insulin to go in and help bring it back down to safe levels.
As insulin works its magic, it removes the glucose from the blood and transports it to – you guessed it – storage.
Specifically, on your thighs, butt, abs, or wherever you happen to store fat.
Not so great.
When you snack regularly, you avoid these peaks and valleys in your blood glucose levels. Instead, you keep them stabilized all throughout the day.
This results in a much lower chance of fat gain as you go about your day.
Snacking for the win!
Manage Hunger Throughout The Day
You know how at about 3pm every afternoon, your stomach starts rumbling? For some of you, it may be growling so loud you can barely think about the noise.
But yet, you ignore it, determined not to eat until your 6pm dinner.
Well, what if I told you that you should give in?
That’s precisely what I’m telling you. By snacking throughout the day, you’ll maintain better control over your hunger.
This way, you’re less likely to ever find yourself on an all-you-can-eat food binge.
If you let yourself get too hungry, all bets on sticking with your healthy diet plan will be off.
You want food – and you want it NOW.
You don’t really care if it’s part of your nutrition plan or not. If it’s there and it looks tasty, you are eating it. Hunger can do this – and cause you to blow your plan.
By snacking, you avoid this.
Increase Your Intake Of Fiber, Micronutrients, And Antioxidants
If you plan your snacks carefully (read: no processed foods), you’re also going to get an excellent intake of key nutrients your body needs to sustain optimal health.
If you’re only eating three square meals a day, it can be hard to get your vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber needs met.
Snacking gives you more opportunities to do this. When you choose snacks that are loaded with nutrition (more on this in a moment), you’ll be fueling your body well and promoting optimal health in the process.
Most people think that snacking takes away from good health. In reality, it can really bring you closer to it.
Prepare Your Body For Exercise
At 4:30 pm, shortly after you get off work, you have an intense workout planned. Psychologically you’re pumped and ready to go. You’re going to PR (personal best!) – you can feel it.
The only problem?
You are low on fuel. It’s been 4 hours since you last ate and you just don’t feel like you have the energy to exercise.
Once again, here’s where snacking comes into play.
The right snack prior to exercise will energize you and ensure you put in that optimal performance.
Pre and post workout meals and/or snacks are essential for ongoing progress, so here’s one time when that three square meals a day simply will not work.
No matter how you look at it, it’s just not ideal. Your body needs fuel to exercise.
Boost Focus And Concentration Levels
That 2pm mental slump you hit every afternoon while at work? That too could be banished with the right snacking approach.
When you go for too long without food and your blood glucose levels drop, your brain suffers too. It’s not just your muscles that feel fatigue, your brain gets sluggish and you might find it hard to concentrate.
Keeping your blood sugar levels stable by eating more frequently can help you avoid this.
It could just mean the difference between you doing a mediocre job at work and you doing so well, you are put up for promotion.
Promote Fewer Feelings Of Restriction
You know that nagging feeling of restriction you feel while dieting? That feeling like you just can’t ever feel full? And after each meal, dread sets in that you now have to go five plus hours before you can eat again?
Yeah…. That feeling.
Well, it’ll be gone when you implement smart snacking into your protocol.
Imagine right now if you could eat every 3 hours. How much more would that put your mind at ease?
For many people, it would significantly help calm their minds.
The more restricted you feel while dieting, the less likely you are to stick with the approach.
Snacking can greatly help reduce these feelings.
Improve Lean Mass Building
Finally, let’s not forget about those of you who are looking to build muscle. If you hope to pack on lean mass, you need to eat more calories.
Some of you may even have calorie requirements of upwards 3000 calories per day.
Try and fit that into 3 meals. Unless you like feeling overly stuffed on 1000 calories of healthy food in a sitting, you will be very thankful that you can break this up into 6, 500 calorie meals instead.
Snacking can help those who are aiming to build muscle mass meet their calorie targets – easily and comfortably.
So as you can see, snacking is a must.
Whether you want to burn fat, build muscle, or bring up your energy level, snacking will help you achieve the results you’re after.
The Golden Commandments Of Snacking For Weight Loss
Now that you see the benefits, know that you can’t just go off and snack on what you want. As we noted, snacking needs to be done wisely.
You must be focusing on the right low calorie snacks otherwise, you’ll be on a one-way-street to weight gain.
Clearly we can’t have that.
Here are your golden commandments of how to snack smart for weight loss success.
Smart Snacking Commandment #1: Thou Shall Avoid Processed Convenience Foods
Those snacks you find at the gas station as you fill up? Those are not what you want here. You want to be focusing on foods that are natural and unprocessed.
Preferably foods that you prepared yourself or that you purchased at the grocery store.
If the food comes wrapped up in packaging, most times, it’s not a food that’s good to be using as your snack.
Heavily processed foods means that they’re low in nutritional value, meaning, you won’t reap much other than fast energy from that snack.
You always want your snacks to work overtime, providing your both with the nourishment that it needs. Choose natural energy foods and you won’t ever experience that energy spike followed by crash.
Smart Snacking Commandment #2: Though Shall Keep The Snack To 100-400 Calories (and appropriate for your goals)
To avoid weight gain, you must keep your snacks a reasonable size. 100-400 calories is an appropriate ballpark range.
If you aren’t doing much other than sitting at your desk working and you are focusing on fat loss, 100 calories is likely appropriate.
On the other hand, if you are out for an afternoon hike, burning up plenty of fuel, and focusing on building lean muscle, 400 calories will be more appropriate.
In that case, it’s more of a ‘mini meal’ than it is a snack.
Always take into account both your goals as well as the activity that you are doing when you plan out your snack and how large you want it to be.
Make sure that it ‘fits’ in with the rest of your diet and the calorie targets you have. Energy balance does matter here. Some people will go adding snacks because they heard it helps boost their metabolism and leads to weight loss.
Then two weeks later, they’ve gained weight.
The reason for this is because they simply went and added two more of these snacks to their normal daily food intake. This now means they were eating too many calories and thus, weight gain was the result.
If you add snacks, you need to remove calories elsewhere. Attain that balance. Smaller meals and small snacks is what you want here.
It’s the only way you’ll see results.
Smart Snacking Commandment #3: Though Shall Consume Foods Rich In Antioxidants
In addition to avoiding processed foods, you also want to choose snacks that are rich in antioxidants. If they contain these powerful nutrients that help fend off illness and disease, you can also rest assured that they’ll be providing you the vitamins and minerals that your body needs as well.
Again, as few people are taking in the antioxidants they need on a daily basis, snacking is a great way to get the proper nutrition in.
Think of every snack as an opportunity to enhance your health a little bit more. Are you taking that opportunity or letting it pass by?
Smart Snacking Commandment #4: Though Shall Always Be Prepared
One thing you can rest assured about life is that it’ll always through you curveballs.
As you go about your day, something often comes up, preventing you from making it home to pick up something to eat.
Always be prepared. Before you leave the house each day, toss a few healthy snacks into your bag to keep on hand.
This will help ensure that you are never stuck anywhere without proper fuel.
One of the biggest reasons that people often fall off their diet is lack of planning. They’re out and need food – STAT – but don’t have anything healthy to eat.
Then, they feel like there is no option but to eat unhealthy.
If you’re prepared with your snacks, you can avoid this.
Smart Snacking Commandment #5: Though Shall Hydrate While Snacking
Finally, the last rule that you must remember as you go about your snacking is remembering to keep yourself hydrated.
This will not only help you meet your daily quota for water intake, but will also help ensure that you don’t consume more food than you really need.
People often mistake thirst for hunger, leading them to take in more calories than they should.
If you serve each snack with a tall glass of water, you’ll prevent this from happening. Plus, staying hydrated can also help with keeping your blood glucose levels stable as well.
Just be sure that you are hydrating with water and not some sugar laden beverage such as fruit juice.
If you can keep these rules in mind as you snack, you can rest assured you are on your way to some smart snacking.
Ready to get started?
Healthy Snack Ideas That Get You Seriously Slim
Let’s look at a few smart snack options that will provide your body with the nutrients it needs, stabilize your blood glucose, and calm your hunger in the process.
As far as snacking goes, it doesn’t get much better than berries. They’re low on the GI index, relatively low in sugar content for fruits, high in dietary fiber, and are jam packed with antioxidants.
As far as foods go, you really can’t get any healthier than berries. And, at between 30-60 calories per cup, they are an easy add to just about any diet plan.
If you feel like you need something sweet to munch on, berries are a great go-to.
Choose fresh or frozen – just steer clear of canned, which are often in heavy syrup that contains too much added sugar.
The next smart snack is simple raw vegetables. Keep some cup up and ready to go in your fridge at all times. Then all you need to do is grab and go.
Carrot sticks, celery sticks, snap peas, broccoli or cauliflower, or even sliced peppers are all great here and will help you take in an abundance of nutrients and fiber.
As far as calories go, raw vegetables are an even lower calorie option compared to fresh berries. They simply can’t be beat.
If you get bored of them on their own very easily, consider making a healthy dip. With so many great dip options available, there’s no reason not to enjoy them.
Try the healthy dip recipe below for an idea.
Healthy Veggie Dip
½ cup low-fat, low sugar plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup mashed avocado
¼ cup fresh salsa
2-3 cloves minced garlic
Mix the Greek yogurt and avocado together. Then stir in the salsa and minced garlic. Once well blended, serve immediately or keep in the fridge.
Prunes, Dates & Raisins
Have a sweet tooth that just won’t quit? Try prunes, dates, or raisins. All of these are terrific options made from natural sources that will again provide antioxidants and dietary fiber.
These are much more calorie dense than raisins or vegetables however, so just keep in mind that you should be careful about your serving sizes.
Dried seaweed is another excellent option that you should try out if you’ve never had it before. It’s an excellent source of antioxidants and will also provide a terrific source of iodine, which is necessary to help maximize thyroid production.
Dried seaweed is available in a number of different flavors, so there’s likely one that you will enjoy.
It also gives you that added ‘crunch’-factor, if that’s what you happen to be craving. This makes it a terrific substitution for those who may be craving potato chips.
Nuts Or Trail Mix
Finally, some raw nuts and/or trail mix. Nuts are a very healthy snack to have as they combine dietary fiber, healthy fats, and will also provide a small dose of protein as well.
The only thing that you will want to keep in mind with both nuts or trail mix is that they’re both very high in calories as well.
A quarter cup serving or so is plenty for most people. If you are out and about, doing activity all afternoon (such as if you are going for a hike for a few hours), then packing trail mix or a carton of nuts can be a terrific choice as they are lightweight, easy to transport, and will give you the sustained fuel you’re looking for.
Consider preparing your own trail mix at home by combining together some nuts, dried fruit, cocoa nibs, and some whole grain cereal squares if desired.
This is far better than purchasing commercially prepared trail mix, which often has added sugars and/or honey.
Snacking can and should be a part of every healthy diet plan. When done correctly, it definitely will not set you back in progress – if anything – it will move you closer to your goal.
Snacking will help you feel better, help keep your body burning fat faster all day long, and will ensure that you are managing your energy level 24 hours a day.
Want more great tips on how to structure your nutrition plan for endless energy?
Check out my 84 day course, where I go over everything you need to know.