I was exercising like a maniac, eating the right foods, no in between grazing and yet my weight refused to budge. Since I did not have too much to lose in the first place, it was all the more difficult. While I'd like to believe that I'm just a little short of a health freak, I didn't have a figure to match. When I went to a nutritionist with my concerns, the diet plan they drew out for me was so much more than what I was eating already. At least 4 meals a day, and the Ms. Cynical in me said - "Wow! That's generous! But will it work?"
Work it did and I am now almost close to the number I desire. And I not obsessed with it either. As a part of the weight loss tips that I plan to include here, snacking is one of them.
How snacking helps weight loss
A little something inbetween meals helps in two ways.
- Prevents your metabolism from dipping. A good BMR (basal metabolic rate) is very important to make sure your body keeps burning calories at its resting state. Prolonged periods for fasting (like skipping breakfast) will convince your body that something is wrong and it has to conserve as much as possible.
- Keeps your blood sugar at stable levels, hence prevents cravings.
- You are better prepared for dinner time. The 200 calorie odd snack will make sure you don't feel terribly hungry and ready to jump on everything on the table at dinner.
How snacking helps diabetics
Most busy executives start their day with hardly any breakfast, have a greasy office canteen lunch ( especially in India) at around 2 PM, some rounds of tea / coffee to sustain till they manage to get out and then prowl for some fried chips / munchies at around 9 PM with a heavy dinner at around 10.30 PM. The gap between 2 PM and 9 PM is the critical time where blood sugar takes a dive. Maintenance of sugar levels through out the day is essential to management of diabetes. Here's where snacking comes to the rescue. A fruit or a trail mix would be ideal to break the 2pm - 9 PM fast and stabilize sugar levels.
The snacker's grocery list
That's my secret list for you. Not too many exotic ingredients, nothing that you wouldn't find in your supermarket. If I get them in Mumbai, then you can find them in pretty much any other city.
Buy a pound of unroasted, unsalted peanuts. Roast them either in your microwave or stove top, cool and store in an airtight container. To snack on them, don't grab a bowlful. Take a handful, mix it with one each of finely chopped cucumber, tomato and onion (small sized). Squeeze half a lemon, sprinkle salt, cayenne pepper, coriander leaves and you have a crunchy, yummy peanut snack ready.
Do the same with the soy nuts and almonds, puffed rice or other soy products.
Any of the nuts can be bulked up by adding raw grated veggies and flavourings so that you don't eat too much of the high calorie nuts.
The super-size culture is fast catching on in India too, and it started with the
2 Litre 2.5 Litre pet bottles of colas, never mind that the 500 ml is free! The Lays and the Kurkures followed suit and we are not surprised to see supersized people too.
No snacking from the bag
I'm sure if you are snacking for weight loss, you wouldn't even pass by the 'Chips' or 'Crisps' aisles. But this is true even for the healthy stuff like nuts or puffed soy snacks. Don't eat from the bag. Have the patience to remove it into a small bowl, mix it with the veggies & flavourings, keep it aside, lock /seal the bag, put it away, take your bowl to the living room and munch on it as if you would eat a gourmet meal. Savour, chew and eat. If quality of food matters, quantity matters even more. I was earlier of the opinion that if something is low-cal, healthy and good for me, quantities don't matter. I have been proved wrong entirely.
Don't get addicted to any one snack
Keep changing routines. Find newer healthy alternatives to add to your list of healthy munchies. And in my personal experience, munch on stuff you don't like too much. This might sound silly, but I recently read in a daily's Page 3 that a famous Bollywood star known for her fab figure, never hires good cooks. If the food is VERY GOOD, you automatically eat more. My best snack is roasted chana because I don't relish it too much. I'll lazily munch on a handful and say -Oh! I feel full! Or the ones that require a little more effort like grating or chopping veggies, because who'll want to do that all over for a second serving?
Take your own snack bag to the movie-hall
Any guesses why movie hall popcorns entice you? The smells beckon you as soon as you enter and the allurement wont stop until you rush to the counter, get your fill and finish the last morsel even before the trailers at the beginning of the movie are over. Why don't you feel the same about home-made popcorn from corn-kernels? Simple! You wouldn't dream to add that much butter. A large size popcorn probably has at least half a stick of butter and a bucket - well, I don't think you even want to imagine. So you can take your own little baggies filled with some nuts, dried fruits, something like a trail mix, that you'd chew and eat slowly. Focus on the movie so that you don't dip around into your partner's or your friend's goodies.
Like all good habits, this one takes a while to form. Whether you are a busy working person or a stay at home mom, you can make this work for you. Combine it with your tea-time ritual and watch your body thank you for it!
I'd love it if you shared your similar experiences with us. What is your idea of a healthy yet satisfying snack? Add to the list please!If you live in India, I can share with you some of the real low-cal and healthy products available in most supermarkets here। Leave a comment or mail me and I shall be glad to help!