Thursday, 3 March 2011

Favorite low calorie snacks and advice

Ever since I have decided to eat healthier about a year ago, I have had to make big changes in my diet. Fist, I have decreased drastically my portion sizes. I used to make gargantuan plates covered in either, pasta, cheese, white rice or meat doused in heavy sauces. I also worked on reducing my meat and starch intake while increasing (actually, including period) vegetable portions. I would normally aim to fill half of the plate with veggies, a quarter with meat and the rest with starch. I would also use smaller plates, to make sure that I could control the portions better. It is easy to pile up tons of high calorie foods into a big plate!

With those changes, I found myself hungry between meals. At first, I thought snacking would ruin my efforts at eating less and eating healthier, because the food advertized as snacks often seems very rich and unhealthy. I soon realised it would be impossible for me not to snack at least a little. In fact, I realised that it would be much healthier for me to do so. It keeps me feeling full throughout the day and avoids starving myself between meals.

In the long run, learning to snack appropriately and choosing the right foods has helped me a lot in my goal to eat healthier! I try to choose snacks that are nutritious and healthy, which helps me avoid over indulging in sweets and rich foods later on.

Here are my favourite healthy snacks : ♥

- 100 calories granola bars
- Cheese strings

- Caramel rice cakes

While the plain rice cakes are a diet cliché, I love to munch on the caramel kind! These are not very filling, but when I want something sweet, these will help me stay away from the cookies!

- Baby carrots

- V8 vegetable cocktail

- Thinsations Bits & Bites

(when I feel like indulging in salty potato chips, I substitute for this portion controlled snack! It’s good enough to take care of the craving without going overboard). These are a little bit expensive for my taste, since foods advertized as diet are often marked up compared to other products. Another option is to buy a bag of Bits & Bites and divide into about 100 calories portions in zip lock bags and then stick to one portion.

- Fresh fruit such as strawberries, Pineapple, apples, watermelon, grapes, plums, etc.

- Dried fruit (banana and apricot are my favorites)
Be careful with these as they are very high in calories! Good and nutritious but in moderation.

- Baby pita with hummus
When I want something a little more filling.

- Low fat yogourt (the 0% fat kind is extremely low calorie)

- Vegetable thins (44% less fat)

I rediscovered these recently! They are only 80 calories for 15 pieces and taste just like the original recipe! Very good for salty cravings just like the Bits & Bites.

- Small freezies

These are only 15 calories each! On a hot summer day, it’s the perfect treat without over indulging. ( Some brands of ice cream sandwiches can reach up to 400 calories, a sure diet buster).

- Pudding cups
Some brands like Jello only contain 100 calories per cup. While this is probably the least healthy option of this list, it’s still much better to indulge in chocolate this way than to get yourself a candy bar!

My best advice to avoid snacking on candy, chips and cookies is to avoid keeping them in your house! I have heard many people complain that they gain weight and cannot seem to control their eating habits, but keep cookies in the pantry. I prefer keeping the things I know I cannot resist (chocolate milk, ice cream, popsicles, Pillsbury cookies, croissants, donuts, etc.) out of reach. (of course, this does not really apply to anyone who has kids around, most times it’s almost impossible to keep the pantry temptation-free). That way, if I really want them, I have to go out and buy them. The added work to get the sweets most times discourages me from getting it and I end up choosing something healthier.

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