Wednesday, August 20, 2014

10 Bad Snacks for Weight Loss

We are a nation obsessed with snacks!  Most of us eat early 600 calories a day-that is roughly a third of our food in snacks, according to a 2010 study from the University of North Carolina

This snacking can break your weight loss efforts.  There is a right and a wrong way to snack.  If snacking is done correctly it can help keep our appetite in check, fuel our workouts, and give us valuable nutrients.  If it is done wrong, you could be downing gut-busting snacks loaded with fat and sugar

The problem is it is all too easy to get fooled into thinking you are eating a healthy snack.  Please make sure to read your labels!  Look at the fat and sugar content.  

Please see a list of my favorite snack options here: Clean Eating Snack Ideas

1.  Fruit Yogurt   
Replace with: Plain Greek yogurt with fresh fruit slices
Some fruit yogurts contain up to 26 grams of sugar in a small six-ounce container (that is the equivalent of three oreo cookies).  And while 12 grams of that comes from the milk itself, the rest is from the sugar packed fruit flavoring.  

2.  Trail Mix with Chocolate
Replace with: A fruit-and-nut bar
Who doesn't love trail mix?  I know first hand I LOVE IT!  The standard serving size of trail mix is a 1/4 cup.  If you love it as much as I do you never come close to eating that little bit.  Two small handfuls can put you at an easily 350 calories!  This is one thing I have cut out of my diet and out of my house!  You can try a fruit-and-nut bar such as Larabar or kind bars etc.  I have a list of them under my clean eating snacks.  Here is a link for a clean eating trail mix you can make for yourself: Clean Eating Trail Mix.

3.  Pretzels
Replace with: Shelled Pistachios
Pretzels can pack a lot of sodium.  Salted nuts contain just a quarter of that sodium.  If your worried about the fat in the nuts, don't be: While the pistachios do have 50 more calories per serving than the pretzels, they also contain twice the protein and three times the fiber to keep you fuller longer.  Plus, people who added nuts to their diet lost more weight compared to those who snacked on pretzels, according to a recent UCLA study.

4.  Soy Nuts
Replace with: Steamed Edamame
While a quarter-cup of soy nuts is 130 calories, a single-serve packet of edamamae (which can be steamed int he microwave and is available in the freezer section of your grocery store) is only 90 calories.  This is a win for you!  You get twice the food for fewer calories.

5.  Diet Soda
Replace with: Unsweetened sparking water or soda alternatives
Many of us try to drink diet soda to save the calories and to fight off hunger between meals.  However, the artificial sweeteners you are knocking back along with the bubbles have been linked to an increase risk of weight gain-the sweeteners may negatively impact your metabolism, as well as throw off your brain's ability to regulate your appetite, finds a 2013 study in Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism. If you’re really just thirsty instead of hungry, opting for sparkling H20 provides that filling carbonation, while adding fruit (orange, lemon, strawberries) adds a hint of sweetness with a boost of nutrition. Still not ready to kick the can? Check out Your Body On Diet Soda and see for yourself.  You can also try a list of soda alternatives:
6.  Rice Cakes
Replace with: Air Popped Popcorn
Rice cakes have been labeled a diet food for a long time because they are low in calories and fat free.  But they are also very high on the glycemic index, scoring an 82 (pure guar is 100).  The glycemic index is a measure of how food raises your blood sugar and insulin (the higher the score, the great the increase).  And according to Australian research, people who ate a diet lower in the glycemic index lost twice as much fat compared to those on higher glycemic diets.

One cup of air-popped popcorn is only 31 calories, has a lower glycemic index (55), and also counts as a serving of whole grains.  Plus, you can jazz it up with some zero calorie spices such as cinnamon, cumin, chili powder.  Just be sure to avoid microwave popcorn, one of the 7 foods that should never cross your lips.

7.  Banana Chips
Replace with: A Banana
And yet another one of my favorite snacks has made this list!  Banana chips appear to be a healthy sound choice because they are made from bananas.  I mean how bad could they really be for you?  They are usually fried, meaning they contain 8 grams of saturated fat (40% of your daily value) and 145 calories.  A diet high in saturated fat has been found to disrupt the production of key hormones that regulate your appetite, which could make you feel hungry when you’re not, finds a study in the British Journal of Nutrition.  Opt for a large banana, which offers only 121 calories and zero grams of saturated fat.  For more

One cup of air-popped popcorn is only 31 calories, has a lower glycemic index (55), and also counts as a serving of whole grains.  Plus, you can jazz it up with some zero calorie spices such as cinnamon, cumin, chili powder.  Just be sure to avoid microwave popcorn, one of the 7 foods that should never cross your lips.

7.  Chocolate Pudding
Replace with: Dark Chocolate
When you are craving chocolate a pudding cup gets a good rep as a diet-friendly treat.  But you will satisfy your craving more if you go for the real deal, an ounce of 70% (or higher) dark chocolate.  It contains 168 calories (just a few more calories than the average pudding cup, which ranges from 120-150 calories), plus less sugar and carbs, and more satiating fiber.  By choosing the dark chocolate you get antioxidant-packed cocoa, which, per a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, may be the reason people who eat it a few times a week are thinner than those who don’t.  If portioning is an issue for you try pre wrapped dark chocolate such as: Endangered Species Organic Dark Chocolate Chimp Mints ($50, pack of 64; come in .35 oz each (so you can have 3!), or try 1-oz Scharffen Berger 70% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate bars ($4;

7.  A Grande 2% Pumpkin Spice Latte
Replace with: a Grande Non-Fat Latte
While a pumpkin latte feels like the perfect fall snack, it’s not exactly bursting with pumpkin.  Rather, it’s bursting with sugar, clocking in at 47 grams of sugar and 310 calories-that’s without the whipped cream!  To put it into perspective, an unsweetened latte contains 18 grams of sugar (from the milk).  That means the pumpkin latte packs 29 added grams of sugar, or more than seven teaspoons of sugar.  Woman are only advised to get six added teaspoons of the sweet stuff a day to prevent weight gain, according to the American Heart Association.  Go for a skim latte instead, which contains no added sugar and only 130 calories.

8.  Instead of: Canned Pears
Reach for: 4 dried plums
Even though it’s fruit, the canned pears are swimming in sweetened syrup, and they’re also low in fiber, with only one gram per serving. Eating four dried plums—aka prunes—provides a few less calories (91 in the dried plums versus 100 in canned pears) and ups your intake of fiber to three grams. Women should aim to get 25 grams of fiber per day—but most only eat half that—and increasing your intake by 10 grams a day is associated with a smaller waist circumference and weight, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

9.  Instead of: Canned Pears
Reach for: 4 dried plums
Twenty-seven cheese crackers in a serving sounds like a sweet deal, but like all bargains, if it sounds too good to be true...well, you know how it goes. The crackers are high in simple carbohydrates like enriched flours, which spike blood sugar and create cravings (for more crackers). You can decrease that response and slow digestion with 100% whole grain bread, a source of protein, and healthy fats. Upping the intake of whole grains helped female dieters lose nearly two pounds more and decrease their body fat by one additional percentage point than a group that ate refined grains, according to a study in the Journal of Nutrition.

10. Instead of: ½ cup granola with one-cup skim milk
Reach for: One packet of instant oats
If you get hungry before lunch, you might want a second breakfast—and that’s okay! But granola is little more than sugar and fat, which is why this healthy-sounding snack can run upward of 360 calories. And people tend to eat bigger portions when the food is labeled healthy (like granola is), according to a recent French study. The instant oats, on the other hand, contain about 150 calories and can be easily whipped up in a cup with hot water. Oats also offer a surprisingly good amount of protein, plus slow-digesting fiber from whole grains.


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