Healthy snacks can contribute important nutrients to the diet. Snacking on low calorie foods may reduce the overall intake of calories if it keeps a person from impulsively opting for high calorie meals.

person eating a healthy snack. photo credit: Cavan Images/Getty Images
What is your favorite snack?

Reducing the overall intake of calories can be a goal for people looking to lose weight. It may also be a goal for people working to maintain a moderate weight.

Snacking can help promote weight loss, as long as a person chooses their snacks selectively and eats them in moderation.

This article discusses snacking and its relationship to weight. It also provides recipes for 20 tasty low calorie snacks.

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What is snacking?

Some research indicates that almost one-third of a person’s daily calorie intake comes from snacks.

There is no standard definition of snacking, but most people understand snacks to be foods, and sometimes drinks, consumed between meals. The term “snack” does not refer to the healthiness of a food.

Why do people snack?

People may snack for many reasons including:

  • hunger
  • boredom
  • low energy
  • emotional reasons, such as to help deal with sadness or stress
  • social and environmental reasons

Related: Diabetes Diet: Get Creative With Your Healthy-Eating Plan

Some of these factors may also influence the type of snack a person chooses. For example, some researchurce indicates that social norms that support healthy eating may increase a person’s intake of nutritious snacks.

How does snacking affect weight?

Snacking can lead to weight gain or loss, depending on the type of snacks and snacking habits.

Types of snacks

When judging whether a snack is healthy, it is important to distinguish between nutrient-dense and calorie-dense foods.

The latter are high in calories and generally high in sugar and fats. What people call “junk foods” are calorie-dense and tend to have few nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber. A person should eat these foods infrequently, especially if they have diabetes.

Related: Nutritionists Weigh In On Eating Salmon

Nutrient-dense foods, meanwhile, tend to be much healthier. Snacking on these may help a person feel fuller for longer and reduce overeating at mealtimes, if this is a concern.

Several studies report that foods rich in protein, fiber, and whole grains enhance satiety, the feeling of being full. In this way, they may help with weight management. Some examples of snacks in this category include nuts, yogurt, and popcorn.

It is important to snack in moderation. Checking food labels to learn about portion sizes and calorie contents can help.

The MyPlate online tool from the Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides a range of nutritious recipes, including many for healthy snacks.

Click here for 100 healthy and tasty snacks

Does snacking on fruit help with weight loss?

A piece or handful of fruit can be a convenient, healthy snack — most fruits are low in calories and high in fiber. All fruits contain a variety of essential vitamins and minerals.

2019 review found that eating more fruit supported subsequent weight loss. Research also suggests that most fruits have anti-obesity effects.

Some people choose to get more than 70% of their daily calories from raw fruits, mainly, along with some seeds, nuts, and vegetables. But this diet, called a fruitarian diet, excludes many important food groups and generally does not include enough essential nutrients.

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The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020–2025 recommend that people consume 2 cups of fruit a day, as part of a balanced diet.

Source: Medical News Today

One of my favorite snacks: I love to make a smoothie with Homemade Vanilla Glucerna, a banana, 4 cubes of ice and a few dashes of connamon… Mmm!

What is your favorite snack? Please leave your comment below. Thanks!

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Ericka Scott

I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in 2000. Since then, I've been on a mission to help myself and loved ones living with Diabetes and High Blood Pressure, to prepare healthy and TASTY meals. Now, I'm here to help YOU do the same!

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