Here’s a fun fact for you: Eating actually burns calories. It’s no joke—5 to 15 percent of your daily energy expenditure is used digesting, absorbing, and storing the food you eat. It’s called diet-induced thermogenesis and it’s one of the reasons why smart snacking throughout the day can actually help you burn fat and lose weight.
Notice I said “smart” snacking. The types of foods you chose can make or break your diet. To help take the guesswork out of healthy snacking, I’ve put together a list of some of my favorites. Bon appétit!
- Almonds. Nuts are one of the best snack foods around, and almonds top the list when it comes to health benefits. When hunger strikes, eat ¼ cup of these raw or dry roasted, unsalted nuts. You’ll fill up and get plenty of heart-healthy magnesium and vitamin E to boot!
- Edamame. Just ½ cup of these little soybeans provides 8 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. Better still, you’re eating just under 100 calories.
- Celery With Peanut Butter. A stick of celery with a tablespoon or so of peanut butter combines fiber and protein for the perfect between-meal treat. Almond butter makes a nice substitution as well.
- Cottage Cheese. A quarter cup of low-fat cottage cheese with chopped tomatoes, bell peppers, or a little salsa tossed in makes a wonderful snack. The cottage cheese provides the lean protein you need to stay satisfied, and adding the fiber-rich veggies helps spruce up this otherwise bland snack.
- Hard-Boiled Egg. If you’re looking for a low-carb, protein-rich snack, a hard-boiled egg fits the bill. At just under 80 calories, this snack will curb your appetite and help trim your waistline.
- Snack-Size Protein Shake. A small portion of a meal replacement protein shake can make a great snack. Aim for around 7–10 grams of protein and blend your shake with low-glycemic berries for added fiber.
- Reduced Fat Cheese. A one-ounce portion of reduced fat cheese (the size of a pair of dice) gives you 6–7 grams of protein at around 80 calories. One of my favorites is string cheese. It’s tasty and easy to take with you for a snack on the run.
- Vegetables With Hummus. Cut up some fresh broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, snap peas, bell pepper strips, or cauliflower flowerets and dip them in a little hummus. The calorie count of the veggies is low, plus they are full of stick-to-your-ribs fiber, while two tablespoons of hummus contains about 60 calories.