The 6 Snacks You Should Eat Every Day
Apr 14, 2011
"I eat healthy, and I don't snack between meals; why can't I lose any weight?"
A colleague—I'll call her Mary—was in my office recently, complaining about her body with just those words. I listened, nodding sympathetically, because I couldn't speak—I had a mouth full of almonds and was washing them down with chocolate milk. Mary stared at me as though I'd just backed over her dachshund. "You eat all the time, and you never gain weight!" she exclaimed. "What, is there a picture in your attic that gets fatter while you stay thin?"
"I never gain weight because I eat all the time," I explained, reaching for a napkin. "Not snacking is exactly the wrong thing to do!"
Our bodies evolved to graze; when food gets scarce, we start to retain fat as a way of protecting ourselves from famine. "That's exactly what happens when you don't snack between meals," I told her. "Your body doesn't know where its next meal is coming from, so it's afraid to shed the extra pounds." Worse, you wind up eating more than you need at every meal.
That's why snacking is so important: In fact, when Penn State researchers fed subjects just one humble apple before mealtime, the subjects consumed nearly 190 fewer calories. That's part of the reason why, when laying out the eating strategy for the new Eat This, Not That No-Diet Diet!, I included two snacks per day, every day.
Think of it this way: The more you eat, the more you lose. Sounds great, right? But you need to snack smartly, and stock your kitchen with the nibbles on this list.
BEST DIP SNACK
Sabra Roasted Red Pepper Hummus (2 Tbsp with 10 baby carrots)
6 g fat (1 g saturated)
200 mg sodium
2.5 g protein
4 g fiber
Hummus is composed primarily of chickpeas, which have been shown to help regulate blood sugar—probably due to their salutary balance of protein and fiber. Most of that fiber is insoluble, so it promotes colon health. One study even found that people who added chickpeas to their diet ended up taking in fewer total calories. Add to that a few baby carrots and you get the added benefit of vision-preserving, skin-soothing beta-carotene.
Lay’s Smooth Ranch Dip (2 tbsp) with Ruffles Loaded Chili & Cheese Potato Chips (1 oz)
15 g fat (1 g saturated)
390 mg sodium
Eat This, Not That! secret: You can lose 10, 20, 30 or more pounds while still eating your favorite foods, and without dieting, if you make smart swaps throughout your day. Feast on this delicious list of 15 Desserts That Burn Fat!