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lundi 15 janvier 2024

6 “Bad" Snacks You Should Be Eating When Trying to Lose Weight, According to a Dietitian


If your goal is to lose weight, snacking can be your ally. But not all snacks are equal. Well-balanced snacks can provide nutrients you need, reduce your appetite and curb overeating at your next meal. In fact, divvying up your calories throughout the day by eating a bit more lightly at meals and making room for one to two snacks may be better for your digestion and metabolism than eating heavier meals, according to a 2019 review published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, The review also mentions that higher-weight individuals eating snacks regularly ingest more fiber, fruits and vegetables than non-snackers—all important components of weight-loss plans.  

 16 Gut-Healthy Snacks for Weight Loss

While you may be tempted to banish certain snacks in the name of weight loss, know that well-planned snacks may actually support your health goals. “Snacks should have a combination of carbohydrates and protein to help you feel satisfied, give you energy and keep you full,” says Oklahoma City-based registered dietitian Katie Drakeford, M.A., RD. Aside from carbohydrates and protein, nutrients such as healthy fats and fiber in snacks may also support weight loss because they take longer to digest, which helps curb your appetite. 

At EatingWell, we believe all snacks, even the ones some consider “bad,” can fit into a healthy eating pattern. What’s more, many of these so-called “bad” snacks are actually good for you, especially if you’re working to lose weight. Read on for six that are on our eat list.

1. Nuts

“People often feel the fat content of nuts makes them an indulgence. But once I explain nuts' magnificent benefits, they usually try them,” says Marcie Vaske, M.S., a gut-health licensed nutritionist at Oswald Digestive Clinic in Minneapolis. 

According to a 2021 review published in Obesity Reviews, higher nut intake was associated with fat and weight loss. Nuts are best known for their healthy fats, high protein and fiber content, which are nutrients that help you feel full to curb hunger between meals. “I recommend people choose nuts with the highest-quality nutrition, such as macadamia, pecan, walnut, Brazil, hazelnut and almonds,” says Vaske.

 What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Nuts Every Day

2. Dried Fruit

Packing healthy foods on-the-go gets easier with dried fruit, which may help keep you regular, too. “When mid-meal hunger strikes, reach for dried fruit like raisins, prunes, cherries or dates for a tasty and portable snack option,” says Beth Stark, RDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist and owner of Beth Stark Nutrition, based in Pennsylvania. Stark shares the weight-loss benefits of these snackable sweet treats. “Dried fruit is packed with essential vitamins, minerals and fiber to promote appetite satisfaction.” Look for no-added sugar varieties when shopping and be mindful of your portion size. If you’re eating dried fruits at home, pair them with sources of protein, such as cottage cheese or nuts, for longer-lasting appetite control, says Stark.

3. Chips

People may refrain from popping open the chip bag as a weight-loss strategy, but chips can play a helpful part in boosting your nutrition, believe it or not. “Having chips as a snack while trying to achieve weight loss can help satisfy a craving for something crunchy and salty,” says Jenn Schmidt, RDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist based in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul area. 

To increase the nutritional value of your chip snack, always pair it up with something that’s both tasty and nourishing. “Consider pairing chips with either salsa or Greek yogurt seasoned with lime juice, salt and pepper. Salsa elevates the taste and provides valuable nutrients such as fiber, lycopene, quercetin and capsaicin, which may reduce inflammation and support weight loss,” says Schmidt. Meanwhile, Greek yogurt adds protein, further assisting in appetite control,” adds Jasmin Ilkay, M.P.H., RDN, a nutrition and food communications expert in New York City. 

Fiber is a nutrient known for supporting weight loss, and you’ll find higher-fiber chips in the snack aisle, depending on how they’re made. “For a healthier choice, opt for chips made from cauliflower or beans,” says Ilkay.

4. Crackers

Cutting back on carbs is sometimes seen as the ultimate weight-loss hack, and while it may work for some, many people feel deprived of eating the snacks they enjoy, including crackers. Despite what low-carb dieters may say, eating carbs can help you lose weight. “Crackers alone aren’t likely to keep someone full for long, but pairing them with a flavored tuna packet and an apple boosts the fullness factor by adding protein and fiber,” says Schmidt. Another idea is to smear crackers with hummus or nut butter for “a valuable source of protein and healthy fats, which can assist in stabilizing blood sugar levels and curbing hunger,” says Ilkay.

5. Bananas

There’s no denying the skepticism around eating bananas and losing weight. But bananas are too nutritious to avoid, and they are an easy and affordable snack. “Bananas are a rich dietary fiber and potassium source,” says Ilkay. Bananas (especially when green) have resistant starch, a type of fiber and prebiotic that enhances your gut health, and a healthier gut may aid in long-term weight management, according to a 2023 review in Cureus. “When bananas are combined with almonds and yogurt, this trio elevates the snack's protein content and provides beneficial monounsaturated fats. These components work together to assist in stabilizing blood sugar levels and promoting a longer-lasting feeling of fullness,” says Ilkay. For a sweet treat, try this Yogurt Banana Sundae.

6. Cheese

If you’re not convinced snacking on cheese works for weight loss, maybe we can help. “If you crave savory foods for snacking, cheese is the way to go. Packed with protein, cheese digests and absorbs slowly to deliver maximum appetite satisfaction,” says Stark. Not to mention, cheese provides a wide variety of essential vitamins and minerals. “Cheese has an impressive nutrient profile that includes calcium, phosphorus, potassium and B12 that contribute to one’s overall health,” she adds. 

While cheese has multiple health benefits, it’s also a rich source of calories and fat, so if you’re considering giving cheese a chance, here’s how to do it: “To incorporate cheese into your snack routine, try building a personal-sized charcuterie board with an ounce of your favorite cheese, along with fresh veggies, hummus and a few whole-grain crackers,” says Stark.


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