Are snacks bad for weight loss?

Are snacks bad for weight loss?

It amuses me no end when people haven’t a clue why they aren’t losing weight when they eat healthy. At least, they *think* they’re eating very healthy. Dig a little deeper, and it turns out that they weren’t eating very healthy after all. How come?

What most people seem to understand when they’ve been told to eat healthy is that they must eat 3 healthy meals a day and (typically) eat less to lose weight. What happens then? They get hungry in between meals, they can’t wait to open that bag of chips or cookies that’s their *reward* for eating healthy. According to them, since they have been eating so healthy for the 3 main meals a day (perhaps even skipping breakfast to keep the calories down), they fail to consider the impact of unhealthy snacking. In fact, surprisingly enough, they do not seem to account for the calories in the snacks. Aside from calories (If you know anything about me, I’m not fond of counting calories at all), the blissfully unaware souls do not even account for the negative health effects of eating unhealthy snack foods as long as their 3 main meals (or 2, if they’re skipping breakfast) happen to be healthy.

Another school of thought doesn’t even permit snacking, contending that snacking can jeopardize weight loss goals so one must eat only 3 meals a day.

There’s something fundamentally wrong with both approaches.

For the record, I am very much IN FAVOR of snacking. Healthy snacking, to be specific. I do not believe that one must forego snacking in order to lose weight. Snacks not only have a very important role to play in weight loss, but to me they are actually the MISSING LINK in many people’s weight loss goals that people sadly ignored.

Healthy snacks
Healthy snacks

But aren’t snacks just going to add extra calories to your diet plan? Yes. But that’s why the snacks need to be healthy. And as I always say – when you’re eating healthy, you can simply forget about the calories.

Here’s why snacks are important for weight loss:

  1. Compared to just 3 large meals a day, snacking reduces digestive and metabolic load on the body.
  2. Healthy snacks add more fibre, micronutrients and antioxidants to the diet (fruit and vegetable snacks).
  3. Snacking can prevent overeating at subsequent (main) meals.
  4. Healthy snacks can prevent hunger, cravings and binge-eating unhealthy junk foods (such as the bag of chips which, in case you’re wondering, is no reward even if you eat 3 healthy meals a day except for an occasional cheat day)
  5. High fibre, high protein snacks are digested at a slower rate, helping to stabilize blood sugar levels.
  6. Healthy snacking can avoid energy slumps which you can get if you only eat 3 large meals a day.
  7. Healthy snacking can keep you feeling satiated and full (compared to unhealthy snacks, which are quickly digested and add no nutritional value).
  8. When you make allowances for a couple of healthy snacks a day, healthy eating and weight loss becomes much easier because you no longer feel deprived.

I love to snack, and I always include snacks in my day. So should you. Don’t worry about the calories. But a word of caution, however, that you be mindful of the snacks, and only choose healthy ones. Otherwise you will jeopardize your health and weight loss goals.

Wondering what constitutes a healthy snack? Here are some examples:

  1. A fruit
  2. Carrot sticks with hummus
  3. Unsalted (and preferably raw) Nuts and seeds
  4. Trail mix (no added sugar)
  5. Apple with almond butter
  6. Whole grain crackers (little or no added sugar)


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