Snacking can be a difficult balance to find in any diet. Often times when dieting we think to ourselves "just a little bit wont hurt." All said and done, that little bit of snacking adds up. Sometimes mindless snacking can cause you to go way over your daily caloric needs causing you to become frustrated when you aren't seeing results as quickly as you would like.
However, its important to not become discouraged in the process. Mistakes and slip-ups are inevitable. But, there are some tips and tricks you can utilize to control your snacking and avoid diet frustrations.
WHAT SHOULD I PAY ATTENTION TO?
Snacking is not a bad habit. There are ideal snacks that can settle your hunger until your next meal without completely wrecking your diet, which for some people is entirely necessary! Diets often lead to a surplus of cravings which, when ignored, can lead to mindless snacking or diet binges.
Mindless snacking can add up really quickly and cause a lot of frustration when your expectations for results are not met. A common "healthy" snack in the U.S. is an apple with peanut butter. While this can be a decent option, peanut butter is a very calorically dense food. If you don't pay careful attention to how much peanut butter you are consuming you can easily consume DOUBLE what you accounted for. Two tablespoons of peanut butter is about 190 calories. Which is why it is so important to pay attention to the detail on that.
Another extremely popular snack that is VERY easy to over-eat are crackers (the acclamied healthy substitute to chips). For example, Triscuits are relatively high in calories per serving and due to the nature of them, very easy to mindlessly snack on. For only 6 Triscuits you are consuming 120 calories, 4g of fat, 20g of carbs, and 160 mg of sodium. Which, when snacking away on, can add up QUICKLY.
Even just a little bit of over-snacking throughout the day can make a relatively large impact on your overall week. So become mindful of these poor habits and try to substitute these snacks for cleaner options.
HEALTHY SNACK OPTIONS
If your sick of the typical "carrots or cucumbers" advice to snack on when hungry between meals, do not be discouraged. There are better tasting options to satisfy your cravings and some great ways to spice up your vegetables. At the core of dieting is calories in versus calories out, so a major key is to find foods with relatively low calories for a high volume of food.
If you have the carbs in your diet to do so, rice cakes are a very friendly snack for any diet! For a brown, unsalted rice cake it carries P:1g, F:0.5g, C:14g for only 60 calories. Rice cakes are the perfect snack to spice up and customize based on your dietary needs.
If you need some additional healthy fats in your diet, try adding a serving of avocado and top with red pepper flakes P: 3g, F: 10g, C: 20g for a total of 160 calories.
If you need some additional protein add half a serving of salmon with two tablespoons of fat free cream cheese P: 18g, F: 6g, C: 16g for a total of 188 calories.
If you are looking for convenience then low calorie popcorn brands like Skinny Pop and Boom Chicka Pop are great options for a very high volume snack really low in calories. Both the Skinny Pop original flavor and the Boom Chicka Pop sea salt flavor are about 140-150 calories for 3 3/4 cups of popcorn! Also if you have the time and feel like spicing up your popcorn, there are some really yummy ways to make healthy popcorn at home!
Brown Sugar Popcorn
Serves 4! (2 cups per serving= calories: 88)
P: 2g, F: 0g, C: 18.75
- 8 cups of air popped popcorn
- Can't Belive It's Not Butter spray
- 2 tbsp of brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
In a large bowl, place the popped popcorn. In a smaller bowl start to mix the sugar and cinnamon. Using the butter spray, spray the popcorn while mixing it until all the popcorn has been touched. Then, gradually season the popcorn with the brown sugar/ cinnamon mixture while still mixing the popcorn. Keep mixing until all the popcorn is seasoned.
Cool Ranch Popcorn
Serves 4! (2 cups per serving= 88 calories)
P: 5.25g, F: 0g, C: 15.5g
- 8 cups of air popped popcorn
- 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast
- 2 tsp of onion powder
- 2 tsp of garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- Can't Believe It's Not Butter spray
- 2 tsp of dried parsley
In a blender or food processor, mix together all the dry ingredients (nutrtional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and parsley). Take out a baking sheet. Spread out the air popped popcorn onto the baking sheet and lightly spray with butter spray. Then sprinkle the popcorn with the dry ingredient mixture until desired level of seasoning is met. Enjoy!
Oven Baked Zucchini Chips
Total calories for recipe: 272 calories
P: 2g, F: 28g, C: 6g
- 1 large zucchini
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Slice your zucchini for desired thinkness for chips (the thinner the better). Place the zucchini slices flat onto a paper towl and then place another paper towl on top. Press the top paper towl down and try to press as much water out of the zucchini slices as you can. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper then place the slices as closely as you can on the sheet. In a small bowl place the olive oil and then using a brush, lightly brush the top of the slices with olive oil. Sprinkle the kosher salt evenly across the sheet. When the oven is heated, place the baking sheet in the oven for 2 hours, until the slices are brown and crispy. Enjoy!
Ranch Roasted Chick Peas
Serves 3! (Calories per serving= 159.6)
P: 5.6g, F: 9.33g, C: 15.6g
- 2 (15 oz) cans of chick peas
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 packet of ranch seasoning
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Then drain the chick peas, rinse them, and throughly dry them. Then put the chick peas in a large plastic bag, add the olive oil, and ranch seasoning and shake around. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and spray some cooking oild on the sheet. Add the chick peas and make sure they are relatively spread out across the sheet. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Then turn chick peas over and bake for another 20 minutes. Take out when brown and crisp! Enjoy!
A wonderful way to hold yourself accountable is to keep a journal of your "temptation" snacks and the things that you would normally have just a little bit of. Write these down every time you come across them and convince yourself to either have something else or skip the extra snack. Add the calories "saved" by not consuming these products (ie: half of a Chocolate Chip Complete Cookie = 180 calories). Daily, Weekly, or Monthly add these "tempations" up and realize just how much the little things add up! It will help you stay accountable for your decisions as well as motivate you to stay away from those little temptations.
Dieting is not always easy. Snacking can be a make or break factor to any diet. When done properly, snacking gives you the much needed boost to make it to your next meal without all the extra calories. When done incorrectly, it can leave you feeling frustrated and confused. The key tip is to start paying attention to everything you are putting into your body. Plan for your meals as well as your snacks. Do not think that your healthy meal compensates for your unhealthy snacks. The little things add up significantly in dieting. If you need more help to figure out what is best for you and your goals check out the Trifecta Diet Templates brought to you by our friends at Renaissance Periodization!