Maintaining a healthy weight can be a challenge, especially when it comes to snacking. It’s easy to reach for sugary, high-calorie snacks when you’re feeling hungry, but those snacks can sabotage your weight loss goals. On the bright side, there are plenty of tasty, low-calorie snacks that can help you lose weight without feeling deprived.
We have compiled a guide that includes some of the best things to eat for snacks to lose weight, which you can easily incorporate into your diet.
Benefits Of Snacking
Snacking can be beneficial for weight loss in several ways if you choose healthy, low-calorie snacks. Here are some potential benefits:
- Prevent overeating.
Snacking can help prevent overeating during main meals by curbing hunger and reducing the temptation to indulge in high-calorie, unhealthy foods.
- Regulate blood sugar levels.
Healthy snacking can help regulate blood sugar levels, which can help reduce cravings and prevent sudden drops in energy levels, making it easier to stick to a healthy diet.
- Boost metabolism.
Consuming healthy snacks can help keep your metabolism active, which can help burn calories more efficiently, leading to weight loss over time.
- Provide essential nutrients.
Choosing healthy snacks such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts can provide essential nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals that contribute to a balanced diet, which can help support weight loss efforts.
However, it is important to note that snacking alone is not a guaranteed way to lose weight. Snacking must be accompanied by a healthy diet and regular exercise to be effective in promoting weight loss.
Losing Weight While Snacking
Snacking may be a great way to manage hunger and prevent overeating at meals, but it’s important to choose healthy snacks if you want to lose weight. Here are tips for losing weight while snacking:
- Choose filling snacks.
Look for snacks that are high in protein and fiber, as these nutrients can help to promote feelings of fullness and reduce snacking between meals. Some examples of filling snacks include nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products.
- Avoid added sugar.
Many snacks, mainly processed snacks, are high in added sugar. This can contribute to weight gain and can also increase the risk of developing chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Choose snacks that are naturally sweet, like fresh fruit or dried fruit with no added sugar.
- Incorporate healthy fats.
Healthy fats, like those found in nuts, seeds, and avocado, can help to keep you feeling satisfied between meals. Just be sure to watch your portion sizes, as fats are high in calories.
- Pay attention to portion sizes.
Even healthy snacks can contribute to weight gain if consumed in large amounts. Be mindful of your portion sizes and aim to eat snacks that are around 100-200 calories per serving.
- Keep your blood sugar stable.
Unstable blood sugar levels can lead to cravings and overeating. To keep your blood sugar stable, choose snacks that are low in refined carbohydrates and high in protein and fiber.
- Plan ahead.
Planning your snacks in advance can help you make healthy choices and avoid grabbing whatever is available when hunger strikes. Consider preparing snacks in advance and keeping them on hand for when you need a quick and healthy option.
Best Things To Eat For Snacks To Lose Weight
To help you feel satisfied without consuming added calories, here are some examples of healthy snacks for weight loss:
1. Fresh Fruits
Fresh fruit is a great snack choice because it’s low in calories and high in fiber. Fiber is important for weight loss because it helps you feel full, which can prevent overeating.
Eating additional servings of fruit per day may even reduce the likelihood of obesity1.
Some good fruit options for snacking include apples, bananas, oranges, and berries. Try pairing your fruit with a source of protein, such as a handful of almonds, to help keep you feeling satisfied.
2. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is protein-rich and is a filling snack that can help keep you feeling full between meals. Consuming yogurt as a snack was associated with greater reductions in afternoon hunger2.
Look for plain, non-fat Greek yogurt, and add some fresh fruit or a drizzle of honey for sweetness. You can also add some nuts or seeds for a little extra crunch.
3. Hard-boiled Eggs
Eating eggs as part of an energy-deficit diet can aid in weight loss3.
Hard-boiled eggs are a great source of protein and can help keep you feeling full for hours. They’re also easy to take on the go, so they make a perfect snack when you’re busy. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on your egg for some extra flavor.
4. Dark Chocolate
If you’re craving something sweet, dark chocolate can be a good option. Look for chocolate that’s at least 70% cocoa, which is higher in antioxidants and lower in sugar.
A small piece of dark chocolate can satisfy your sweet tooth without sabotaging your weight loss goals. It’s been found that consuming dark chocolate reduces food intake and increases feelings of fullness compared to milk chocolate4.
5. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is a source of casein protein, which is slow-digesting and can provide a steady release of amino acids into the bloodstream over a prolonged period of time. This slow digestion can help to keep you feeling full for longer5.
Try adding some fresh fruit or nuts for added flavor and nutrition.
Nuts are a great source of healthy fats and protein, which can help sustain feelings of fullness. Because nuts are nutrient-dense, a study found that people who regularly consumed nuts had a lower risk of weight gain and obesity over a 5-year period compared to those who did not consume nuts6.
For an extra boost of nutrition, consider pairing them with some fresh fruit.
Edamame is a filling snack that is high in protein and fiber. It also has a low glycemic index, which means it can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce hunger.
In a study, it was discovered that having edamame as a snack resulted in reduced blood sugar levels and enhanced feelings of fullness when compared to a high-carbohydrate snack7.
To enhance the flavor, try sprinkling some sea salt on top.
Hummus is a healthy snack that is a popular Middle Eastern dip made from chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic.
Hummus is relatively low in calories compared to other high-fat dips, such as ranch dressing or cheese dip. This means you can consume a larger volume of hummus for the same number of calories, which can help to promote feelings of fullness and reduce overall calorie intake8.
Almonds are another satisfying and filling snack choice that provides essential nutrients, such as fiber, healthy fats, and protein, while still being relatively low in calories.
Studies have shown that individuals who snack on almonds regularly tend to have a lower body weight and a lower risk of obesity9.
However, it’s important to keep portion sizes in mind as almonds are also relatively high in calories. A serving size of almonds is typically about one ounce (around 23 almonds), which contains around 160 calories.
Avocado is a nutritious and delicious snack that can be enjoyed on its own or paired with other foods. It’s packed with nutrients such as fiber, potassium, vitamin K, and healthy monounsaturated fats.
The healthy fats in avocados can help to stabilize blood sugar levels, potentially reducing the risk of cravings and overeating10.
Having a mix of healthy snacks can be a great option if you are looking for something convenient and satisfying. They are typically made up of a variety of different foods, such as nuts, seeds, fruit, and whole grain cereal, which can provide a range of nutrients and flavors.
These can be customized to suit different tastes and dietary preferences, making them a versatile snack option. Additionally, the combination of protein, fiber, and healthy fats in snack mixes can help to keep you feeling full and satisfied between meals, potentially reducing the likelihood of overeating later on.
Here are some ideas for healthy snack mixes that you can prepare at home:
- Trail Mix
Combine nuts, seeds, and dried fruit in a bowl for a tasty and nutritious snack. Some good options include almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, dried apricots, and raisins.
- Veggie Sticks and Hummus
Cut up your favorite vegetables, such as carrots, celery, and bell peppers, and serve with a side of hummus for a satisfying snack that is high in fiber and protein.
- Cottage Cheese and Fruit
Top a serving of low-fat cottage cheese with fresh fruit, such as sliced peaches or berries, for a snack that is high in protein and vitamins.
- Apple Slices and Almond Butter
Slice up an apple and serve with a side of almond butter for a snack that is rich in fiber, healthy fats, and protein.
- Roasted Chickpeas
Drain and rinse a can of chickpeas, toss with olive oil and your favorite seasonings, and roast in the oven until crispy. This snack is high in protein and fiber and makes a great alternative to potato chips.
- Greek Yogurt and Granola
Top a serving of plain Greek yogurt with your favorite granola and a drizzle of honey for a snack that is high in protein and fiber.
- Rice Cakes with Avocado and Tomato
Spread mashed avocado on a rice cake and top with sliced tomatoes and a sprinkle of salt and pepper for a snack that is high in healthy fats and fiber.
Snacking will not hinder you from losing weight as long as you choose snacks that are healthy. It’s important to plan snacks ahead of time, watch portion sizes, avoid processed snacks, and use snacks to boost nutrient intake.
By snacking in a mindful and strategic way, you can support your weight loss goals while still satisfying your hunger and providing your body with the energy and nutrients they need.
2 Ortinau LC, Hoertel HA, Douglas SM, Leidy HJ. Effects of high-protein vs. high- fat snacks on appetite control, satiety, and eating initiation in healthy women. Nutr J. 2014 Sep 29;13:97. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-13-97. PMID: 25266206; PMCID: PMC4190484.
3 Vander Wal JS, Gupta A, Khosla P, Dhurandhar NV. Egg breakfast enhances weight loss. Int J Obes (Lond). 2008 Oct;32(10):1545-51. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2008.130. Epub 2008 Aug 5. PMID: 18679412; PMCID: PMC2755181.
4 Sørensen LB, Astrup A. Eating dark and milk chocolate: a randomized crossover study of effects on appetite and energy intake. Nutr Diabetes. 2011 Dec 5;1(12):e21. doi: 10.1038/nutd.2011.17. PMID: 23455041; PMCID: PMC3302125.
5 Te Morenga LA, Levers MT, Williams SM, Brown RC, Mann J. Comparison of high protein and high fiber weight-loss diets in women with risk factors for the metabolic syndrome: a randomized trial. Nutr J. 2011 Apr 28;10:40. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-10-40. PMID: 21524314; PMCID: PMC3105953.‘
6 Bes-Rastrollo M, Wedick NM, Martinez-Gonzalez MA, Li TY, Sampson L, Hu FB. Prospective study of nut consumption, long-term weight change, and obesity risk in women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jun;89(6):1913-9. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2008.27276. Epub 2009 Apr 29. PMID: 19403639; PMCID: PMC2683001.
7 Ramdath DD, Padhi EM, Sarfaraz S, Renwick S, Duncan AM. Beyond the Cholesterol-Lowering Effect of Soy Protein: A Review of the Effects of Dietary Soy and Its Constituents on Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease. Nutrients. 2017 Mar 24;9(4):324. doi: 10.3390/nu9040324. PMID: 28338639; PMCID: PMC5409663.
8 Katcher HI, Legro RS, Kunselman AR, Gillies PJ, Demers LM, Bagshaw DM, Kris-Etherton PM. The effects of a whole grain-enriched hypocaloric diet on cardiovascular disease risk factors in men and women with metabolic syndrome. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Jan;87(1):79-90. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/87.1.79. PMID: 18175740.
9 Dreher ML. A Comprehensive Review of Almond Clinical Trials on Weight Measures, Metabolic Health Biomarkers and Outcomes, and the Gut Microbiota. Nutrients. 2021 Jun 8;13(6):1968. doi: 10.3390/nu13061968. PMID: 34201139; PMCID: PMC8229803.
10 Wien M, Haddad E, Oda K, Sabaté J. A randomized 3×3 crossover study to evaluate the effect of Hass avocado intake on post-ingestive satiety, glucose and insulin levels, and subsequent energy intake in overweight adults. Nutr J. 2013 Nov 27;12:155. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-12-155. PMID: 24279738; PMCID: PMC4222592.