It’s not just for preschoolers! Snack time is important for adults, too, because it can satiate hunger between meals to prevent overeating and help you lose weight. Snacks can also be a way to get valuable nutrients you’re missing from meals alone. But not all snacks are good ones. We’ve enlisted the expertise of two nutritionists — Stephanie Clarke, RD, and Willow Jarosh, RD, of C&J Nutrition — to share the perfect equation for how to choose a delicious and filling snack that will help you reach your weight-loss goals. Follow their advice below to start seeing results.
Aim for two 150-calorie snacks each day. Think of them as ways to fill nutrition holes in your diet, such as getting your fill of fiber or a boost of calcium.
Anywhere from 40 to 50 percent of your calories at snack time should come from carbs, which works out to 14 to 20 grams. Choose high-fiber carbs such as fruit, whole grains, and starchy veggies like peas, corn, sweet potato, pumpkin, and Winter squash. Carbohydrates that are naturally high in fiber tend to be less refined and processed and also typically yield a larger portion size for fewer calories, making them more satisfying.
Go for six to 10 grams of protein, which is 15 to 20 percent of your total snack calories. Protein is essential in order to make what you nosh on feel more satisfying. Protein also helps to even out the rate that carbohydrates enter your bloodstream, so if you eat a snack that’s low in protein, a spike in your blood sugar levels could result in stronger cravings and the need to munch on more.
Far should constitute 30 to 40 percent of your snack’s calories, which works out to between six and 10 grams. Including healthy fats also adds to the “I feel satisfied” feeling. The one thing to watch out for is portion size, since fats like nuts, seeds, and avocado tend to be high in calories.
Getting enough fiber in your snack — at least three grams — is a must to not only help you feel satiated for longer, but to also help you reach your daily goal of 25 grams. Getting your fill of fiber will ensure you stay regular, which can help you avoid that bloated feeling, making you feel more energetic. It can also help maintain stable blood sugar levels, which keeps cravings at bay.