Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Re-learning: Snacking for Weight Loss

The learning is never-ending around here, and I've been re-learning how to eat. Yeah, for years, I've been eating incorrectly. No, my technique is mostly correct - although I have been known to read while eating and sometimes even talk with my mouth full!

What I'm talking about is re-learning some bad food habits that have been with me all of my adult life, resulting in my weight being at an unhealthy level. This year, I'm getting serious about making my life healthier. The kids are benefiting too, because they see the direct effects of my lifestyle choices and the more fattening foods are not as often in the house.

I've been counting calories since the beginning of January and exercising regularly since then, and I've lost 20 pounds. Not an earth-shattering weight loss, but I'm pleased as punch! (Er.... not punch, maybe pleased as a nice glass of ice water?) I'm still exercising, counting calories, and losing weight.

I'm not one of those people you may meet who say things like, "I've been so busy I forgot to eat!" or "All I had for dinner was an apple." Nooo, food is never really far from my mind. Four children who are always hungry helps keep food at the top of my to-do list as well. My blood sugar doesn't stay level very well, I suspect, so I need to always have a high-protein snack around in case it needs leveling off.

I thought I'd share some of the snacks that help me get through the day. I usually eat a snack mid-morning, another, often slightly more substantial, mid-afternoon, and then usually something in late evening (since I am a night owl).

I try to limit snacks to around 100 calories. If I feel hungry still, I can add another 100. In the evening, what I eat depends on how many calories I have left in my daily count.

So, here are some of my favorite snack foods. The kids eat most of these snacks. Not everyone likes everything, but at least one of them would eat any one of the snacks.

Fruits, like bananas, apples, and clementines are great and already portion-sized.

Almonds - I usually eat 12 of them and it's under 100 calories. Protein packed and a whole food.

popcorn - do you wonder if air-popping is worth it? Check the calories on your microwave popcorn and THEN look how many servings are supposed to be in that bag! I used to eat the whole bag myself! Try spraying your air-popped popcorn with butter-flavored pan spray and then shaking on some of the many popcorn seasonings around. It's not the movie theater, but it's a nice crunchy snack and the seasonings add flavor.

Rice Cakes
- crunchy and flavorful. Move past the plain ones, people! Chocolate, caramel, apple cinnamon, cheddar! Lots of choices and mini or regular sizes too.

- OK, this one is a luxury. But one tablespoon of Nutella is under 100 calories and sometimes you just need its creamy goodness. Spread it on a chocolate rice cake! YUMMY!

Sugar Snap Peas
- Satisfies the "I need a crunchy mindless snack" vibe quite well for me. They have a mild taste and the texture is good.

- Some are as low as 35 calories! It's nice to be able to have what my kids are having! Kroger has banana, melon, and other tasty flavors beyond grape and cherry.

Last tip? Almost anything can be a snack if you pay attention to portion size. Of course, I eat many more things than are listed here. Measure your food. Measure chips, measure ice cream, measure your beverages, measure all of it!


Anonymous said...

Great ideas, thanks for sharing the snack ideas.....snacking is MY downfall, but there are so many healthy and low calorie choices out there, there is really no reason to go hungry, is there!! Love, Mom

Sadie said...

Some of my favorite snacks right now:


Light Yogurt or if I'm feeling sinful, a chocolate whipped yoplait!

A hardboiled egg

1oz of low-fat 2% cheese