Why & How You Should Snack for Weight Loss or Weight Gain

Snacking is often recommended for various reasons such as increasing metabolism, eliminating cravings or boosting your nutrition. But when should we snack and what should we snack on?

Weight Loss:

The purpose of snacking depends on your goal. If you’re interested in weight loss then snacking is ideal because it prevents you from overeating during main meals. A good balanced main meal such as breakfast will take 3 hours to digest. Waiting 6 hours until lunch can push our hunger levels to a point where we overeat or make poor decisions during lunch time.

Studies show that if we are not starving by lunch or dinner times then we are likely to make better choices given we are aware of such choices.

You might not feel hungry during snack time and think that skipping it will help you lose more weight. Think again! A good snack will help you make good choices for come lunch/dinner time.

You want your snack to be low in carbohydrates and composed of a mix of 2 of the following: protein, fat, vegetables. Fruits are a carbohydrate and can be used in snacks, however, it is best to keep them as a morning snack (when you need the energy) or as a post workout snack.

Below is a list of snacks appropriate for weight loss:

 

Mid Morning Snacks                 Mid Afternoon/Evening Snacks
  • 1 apple + 1 Tbsp all natural peanut butter
  • ½ cup plain greek yogurt + ½ cup berries
  • ¼ cup nuts + 1 scoop protein shake
  • 1 cup milk + 1 hardboiled egg
  • ¼ cup nuts + any fruit
  • ¾ cup carrots + ¼ cup hummus
  • 1 medium cucumber + 2 Tbsp feta cheese
  • 2 celery sticks + 1 Tbsp all natural peanut butter
  • 1 whole egg + 2 egg whites + ½ cup mushroom + ½ cup spinach
  • 1 cup kefir + ¼ cup berries (blended)
  • 1 simply protein bar

 

Weight Gain:

Snacking for weight gain is different because the goal is to get in more calories from the appropriate sources. Carbohydrates are used in weight gain snacks because, when coupled with an appropriate exercise program, puts the body in building mode also known as an anabolic state.

Below is a list of snacks appropriate for weight gain:

Mid Morning Snacks                 Mid Afternoon/Evening Snacks
  • 1 cup chocolate milk + 1 apple
  • 1 cup milk + 2 boiled eggs
  • ½ cup plain greek yogurt + 2 Tbsp hemp seeds + ½ cup berries
  • 2-3 crackers (Ryvita or Wasa) + ¼ cup hummus or guacamole¼ cup nuts + any fruit + ½ cup plain yogurt
  • ½ cup plain greek yogurt + ½ cup berries
  • 1 scoop whey protein + 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup kefir + ½ scoop whey protein + ½ cup berries
  • 1 whole egg + 3-4 egg whites + ½ cup mushroom + ½ cup spinach + 1 sprouted grain toast
  • 1 low carbohydrate protein bar + 1 fruit

 

As a final note, pick snacks that you will enjoy and look forward to. This helps create long lasting habits.

Mohamed Rezk, RD

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