Let’s talk snacks, and just because it’s summer, let’s talk beach snacks! When trying to lose weight this summer, selecting healthy meal options is definitely important. But how about the in-betweens? Those gaps between lunch and dinner when your fuel is running low, your stomach is growling, and “junk food” snacks are very tempting. Those moments when the hot sun has drained all of your energy, but you have a few hours until dinner. Maybe your default beach snack is chips and dip. Your go-to might be pretzels, ice cream, or cookies. Or maybe you simply try to power through until dinner and end up overloading your plate because you’re starving. Whatever the case may be, you might want to have a plan for your summer weight loss snacks to reach your weight loss goals.
Snacks can be your best friend on the journey to weight loss because they have a very valid two-fold purpose: preventing the mid-afternoon energy crash and preventing the dinnertime binge. Think about it: our days can be full of work, errands, work-outs, and endless other tasks. Even on vacation, our days can involve beach walks, swimming, toting everything we need up and down the beach, planning activities. We run until we run out of fuel, and that is when an energy crash happens. When this happens, it’s so easy to reach for whatever junk food is available or wait until dinner, leading to eating way past fullness or binging on something quick and high-calorie, like chips or pizza. The solution to the crash and the binge is simpler than we think– plan on adding a balanced snack.
Now that we know how important snacks are, we can focus on what snacks to choose. When it comes to snacks, you have a choice: something energy-zapping or something energy-creating.
The energy-zapper would be anything high in saturated fat or refined sugar. An example might be double stacked Oreos. This type of snack will most likely make you feel weighed down and tired not long after eating it. You’ll probably need a nap in the cabana. These foods are also hard to keep calorie-controlled. They may have a much smaller serving size that isn’t quite as satisfying when you’re hungry.
The energy-creator would be any food high in protein and fiber. This could be a low-fat greek yogurt with some fruit or a well-balanced protein bar. Love something salty? Check out these suggestions for skinny salty snacks! The energy-creator snack will provide you with long-lasting energy — the kind you need to be the life of the party (or supermom) all day. Good energy-creating snacks will also be higher-volume snacks, AKA more food for fewer calories!
If you’re on vacation, you probably want to let loose a little. When you’re trying to lose weight, it can be hard to find that balance, especially when others are eating different foods. But here’s an idea: have a small portion of the “junk” food that you love and fill up the rest of your plate with filling, energizing foods that are lower in calories that you also enjoy. Have 1-2 oreos and a yogurt with grapes. Have 10 chips with some hummus and carrots.
We want to think about how our food will make us feel, including snacks. No food is off-limits ever- sometimes you need that homemade sugar cookie or chips. Smart snacking means balance, but it can also taste just as good and leave you feeling great in your swimsuit. This summer, we want to treat our snacks like our meals for weight loss success: balanced, planned, and satisfying! After all, food is the fuel that will take us through our busy lives, whether we are at the beach or at work!