One of the most important and overlooked parts of losing weight the healthy way is choosing the right diet snacks to supplement your healthy eating efforts.
Before we “dig in” and talk about the best snacks for a healthy diet though, let’s discuss the difference between healthy diet snacks and not-so-healthy ones.
First, ignore labels on food packaging. They are marketing claims designed by clever food advertisers and nothing more. Here are some common words food companies like to use to persuade you to buy their products:
- Low fat
- Low calorie
- Heart healthy
The problem is, whenever food manufacturers take something out of a food to make it “light,” they have to put other stuff back in—and that stuff is usually highly processed, artificial ingredients that is actually worse for you.
Snack foods labeled as low fat can cause you to overeat too. Three studies conducted by the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University found that putting low fat labels on snack foods encouraged people to eat up to twice as much compared to those who saw labels without the low fat claim.
Diet Snacks You Should Be Eating
When picking out a healthy snack, here’s the most important thing to remember: choose real food.
Whole, unprocessed foods that come from nature make the healthiest snacks. Some packaged foods make good diet snacks—but most do not.
The way you determine what’s healthy and what’s not is to read the ingredients list—and ignore the marketing claims on the front. You should only see all-natural, “real food” ingredients listed.
If there’s anything you don’t recognize as real food or can’t pronounce, that’s a good sign the food has artificial ingredients and potentially unhealthy chemicals and preservatives.
Healthy Diet Snacks
Raw fruits and vegetables make the best snacks. But when you want a little something more than that, here are some diet snack ideas to help you snack the healthy way:
- Combine fresh vegetables like carrots, celery, peppers, and cucumbers with a healthy hummus dip.
- Pair apple slices with nut butters such as almond butter (remember to read the ingredients list and look for nut butters with just two ingredients: nuts and salt).
- Whip up a quick healthy soup by heating up some low sodium chicken or vegetable broth and your favorite frozen veggies.
- Grab a handful of raw nuts like almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, or Brazil nuts.
- For you chocolate lovers, snack on a chocolate bar made from raw, organic cacao powder with at least 70 percent cacao content—this means the bar will be lower in sugar and higher in the powerful antioxidants from the cacao bean.
- Mix up a delicious kale salad by combining chopped kale with fresh lemon juice, olive oil, pumpkin seeds, feta cheese, salt, and pepper.
- Spread a can of garbanzo beans evenly onto a baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. Add sea salt for a crunchy, tasty snack.
New York Times: Foods With Benefits, Or So They Say