How many times as a nipper were you told off by your Mother for raiding the snack cupboards, only a couple of hours before your evening family meal?
“Stop snacking, you’ve got dinner soon. You’ll spoil your dinner!”
Whilst I don’t often agree with outdated advice from a lot of people who didn’t grow up in the age of soaring house prices and the Internet: this one is actually something I can get on board with.
So for once, rather than answer the question laid out in the title, I’m going to subvert expectations and say you shouldn’t be snacking in the first place. At least in an ideal world.
If you snack a lot, that usually tells me one of two things. Number one: you’re probably eating meals that aren’t doing it for you. Your meals might be lacking in protein, or you’re not piling high-fibre-based foods on your plate, such as vegetables.
Number two: you’re bored, which I’ve discussed extensively.
Both of these scenarios are not a reason to snack. Sort out your meals and lack of life purpose before trying anything else.
Now if you’ve been dieting for two months in a controlled calorie deficit and are consistently losing weight at a semi-predictable level, you might have more reason to want to have a snack. If this is you, then I can help you.
Snack in moderation and use the following items as your go-to weight loss options.
Protein Powder or Protein Bar
Probably my number one snack of choice. There’s nothing better than choosing a protein-based snack for staving off the hunger gremlins. Protein powders are extremely portable, cheap, and very easy to consume. Insert a scoop or two in a cup, mix with liquid and slam it down your gullet. They are quick, convenient, and readily absorbed into your body. I recommend Awesome Supplements as they use minimal ingredients and double-down on flavour. Plus, if you use the discount code ANGEL05 I’ll make about 15p for the transaction and you’ll get 5% off.
Protein bars are also cool, but expensive. Choose one that is low-ish in calories ideally. You could even make some homemade ones if you like to bake so that you can have better control over your energy intake.
This is also my number one commuting snack and should be used as a meal replacement when on the road.
Greek Yoghurt or High Protein Yoghurt
Another socially acceptable meal replacement or snack. Very palatable and can be easily stored in a fridge if one is available.
You get a decent serving of protein with yoghurt and calories are typically low per 100-gram serving. They can be used as a low-calorie dessert with some berries should you wish to avoid a potential dietary collapse into the evening time.
Piece of Fruit
Fruit as a snack is one of the most common choices and for good reason. Packed with vitamins, minerals, and fibre, and a delicious taste. You can hide in plain sight if you want to avoid talking about your diet for the 312th time because a lot of people eat fruit as a snack. So if being socially accepted is important to you, opt for an apple, an orange, a pear, a handful of berries, or whatever tickles your fancy.
As I’ve already mentioned, berries are a great shout with yoghurt. The perfect replacement meal if you need something that is high-protein, high-fibre, low-calorie.
These have been my personal go-to non-protein snack of choice, especially if travelling. Relatively cheap, portable, plus you get a healthy dose of vitamin A.
I love the taste of raw carrots, and I don’t need to add a dip as this tends to ramp up the calorie content. So be wary that you don’t go overboard with the hummus.
Now we start to clear out the office and potentially offend some people – but who cares? The norm these days is the cake for a mid-morning snack, a Tesco meal deal and biscuits with an afternoon coffee, which leads to a very unhealthy diet and probably a very unhealthy person.
No thanks. We don’t do mainstream here.
Boil a few eggs the night before and snack on this super filling, protein bliss of a snack. Eggs are packed with nutrients like iodine, vitamin B and are a complete protein with all the essential amino acids our body needs.
I’ve personally never eaten that many eggs as a snack as I typically eat them for breakfast, but they really are a super snack.
Oh boy, now we are clearing our immediate area.
A canned fish option is great as they are packed with omega 3’s in the oiler fish like sardines and salmon. Plus protein again.
Quick tip – add some mild-to-hot sauce to give it a great taste. Another tip is to sub as a meal if you buy a salad bowl and plonk the fish on top. This has worked wonders for me in the past. Especially if you are in a pinch and the local petrol station is your only choice.
Now many of you wouldn’t consider a drink a snack. But I define anything that keeps your tummy satisfied in between meals as a snack, so drinks are a viable option.
I’ve talked about artificial sweeteners here if you want the breakdown of your health and the impact they have. I would personally use these as a last resort if you don’t usually drink fizzy drinks, because they could set you up for a sugar binge later on in the day.
However, you can throw out this rule if you drink sugary drinks, non-stop all day. Simply switching to a Diet option is going to net you a massive calorie reduction. Once you’ve made some progress with your weight goals, you can strip back the amount of Diet drinks you have and choose healthier options, i.e. water or teas.
A well-placed cup of coffee in between meals is a great choice and will keep you going for a few hours longer. Avoid overindulging and stick to 1-2 cups max, or you might screw up your sleeping – which is BAD for fat loss!
If you really can’t stand a black coffee, add some milk but don’t go overboard with it. You’re still adding calories, remember.
Why are these the best snacking options for weight loss?
If you’ve been diligently reading you would have already picked up on this, but I’ll explain why right here. The aim of sustaining a weight loss diet is to follow a plan that allows you to fill as full as possible whilst eating the least amount of food as possible. Easier said than done, I know. But that’s the reality of dieting.
To achieve this high-volume, low-food objective, the trick is in the protejn and fibre content versus calorie content. In other words, finding foods that are naturally low in calories but offer the best chance of stopping you from feeling hungry half an hour later. This is what makes food good for weight loss.
Where I would never tell you to give up pizza or pecan pie unless it is causing you to have a negative binge episode or gut issues, these foods are not great for your long-term dieting efforts because they are typically low in protein and high in calories.
Snacking can be beneficial for your weight loss goals if you do it right. Remember by snacking on low-calorie, high protein options for the most effective snacking strategy. Pick the ones above that you are most likely to stick with and are congruent to your lifestyle. If you hate eggs, don’t snack on eggs just because some article told you to. The long-term choice will always win over short-term fixes.