You're eating large, colorful salads and cutting back on your pasta and mashed potatoes. But what good is that if you're sneaking in Snicker bars and colas between meals when no one is looking? Snacking is an important issue to be addressed for dieters. Start with your home kitchen - your powerhouse for nutrition. Get rid of the junk and stock it with filling, tasty things that will help and not undermine your efforts. Here are a few filling ideas:
1. Bagged Pre-washed, Pre-cut Veggies
Some people think they're plain. But if you let your mouth "get back to basics," a good crunchy carrot and crisp sugar snap peas or cucumber slices definitely have their own virtues. Get back in touch with the taste of what nature intended and don't expect a flavor-packed effect of MSG. Most people will have a good, clean feeling inside after eating their favorite raw veggies, and the fiber will help keep you full with very few calories!
Stock your fridge with your favorite fruits where you can see them. Get creative like by putting grapes in the freezer for a crunchy, yummy 0-fat treat. Fruit does have more calories than vegetables, but one piece here or there won't hurt and actually will offer many health benefits.
Whether as a part of a meal or snack, unsalted sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, cashews, walnuts are just a few of the many kinds of high-protein, high fiber nuts just packed with minerals and good fats. Salted nuts are unnecessary and would only cause water retention, something a dieter does not want. Get used to unsalted nuts; they have a great flavor all their own. Worried about fat content? If you're eating low-fat meals and cutting other bad fats out of your diet, there's room for a few small handfuls of nuts in your day. As for nuts in a meal, try a walnut-mushroom loaf, packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, many vitamins and minerals, and low to no-cholesterol!
Want something to much on during your movie? Get someone to hide the Whoppers and Raisinettes and grab some healthy, unbuttered popcorn instead. Orville Redenbacher offers a simple, air-popper machine you just plug in (it doesn't even have a button) that churns out fluffy, crunchy popcorn goodness. Eating it plain or with just a tad (1 tablespoon for a whole bowl) of low-fat margarine such as Smart Balance or Earth Balance or even the new popcorn spritzers out will provide some really good eating with very few calories.
5. Healthy drinks, Like Green Tea and Natural Soda
Recent research on green tea shows that this age-old beverage could actually help raise metabolism and help you lose weight. With varieties like peppermint, orange, chai and more, there's a flavor for everyone, if you don't like just plain green tea. Add Stevia or a Stevia blend such as Truvia and maybe a dash of milk or soy milk for zero to low-calorie calorie soothing. And the liquid really fills you up!
Fizz can exist in a dieter's life. And who needs aspartame and Splenda when there are now products like Zevia (stevia-sweetened soda) in flavors like root beer, cola, lemon-lime and ginger ale? Also, for an even cleaner taste, try Cascade Ice sparkling water flavored with nothing other than "fruit essences."
The number one tip for any dieter when it comes to their kitchen is: Get rid of high calorie, nutrient-void snacks so that they are out-of-sight-out-of-mind, and add a few low-calorie, highly nutritious ones to get you through hungry moments. Sure, You might miss the junk for a while. But after a few days you will begin to feel why you don't!
Catherine S. Hains, MS RD has been interested in health and nutrition since she was a young child. Growing up in Fort Worth, TX, she earned a Bachelor's Degree in Broadcast Journalism from Texas Christian University and wrote for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for 12 years. Her life-long interest in nutrition and disease prevention never waned, and she went on to earn her Master's Degree in Nutrition from Eastern Michigan University. Cathy, now a Registered Dietitian, owns Lighthouse Nutrition and Wellness in Gig Harbor, WA where she enjoys inspiring people of all ages to make losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle easy, fun and permanent. She enjoys good food, cooking and food preparation, and showing others how healthy this can be. Her other pastimes include traveling, art, music and family life. She also likes staying fit with tennis, bicycling walking and jogging, researching nutrition and helping clients be at their best. For more information on Cathy, visit www.lighthouse-nutrition.com or write to Catherine at firstname.lastname@example.org.