By Christopher William McCombs
Dieting can sometimes feel very challenging, especially if you are the type who likes to munch on a lot of sweet or greasy snacks in between meals.
This typical kind of snacking is how many people gain a lot of weight in the first place.
So when you transfer over to a healthier diet, and choose not to snack, it can sometimes feel like an eternity until your next meal.
But really, there is reason why you should ditch the snacking habit altogether just because you've chosen to adopt a healthy lifestyle. With a few smart strategies, you can happily munch away while adding minimal calories to your daily intake.
Don't Snack Mindlessly
Some people like to plop down in front of the television and just chomp on whatever happens to be nearby, not because they are actually hungry or trying to overcome a craving, but because they want to keep their mouth busy. Avoid this at all costs.
This kind of snacking can make you easily put away hundreds of calories without even thinking about it. If you have a compulsion to keep your mouth busy, try chewing gum or sipping coffee or tea while watching television.
Always Take Portion Size Into Account
Some trail mix that you might have on hand might say that it only has one hundred calories per serving. And that works great, so long as you actually stick to one portion. If you are just grabbing the mix from the bag, it's easy to eat up two or three servings really quickly.
So if something says that it has one hundred calories to the third of a cup, go ahead and break out the measuring cups to make sure you eat just the right amount.
Don't Assume It's Healthy Because It's called Diet
Sometimes a product will tout to be low in fat, but it will be loaded with sugar. Other times, a product will claim to be low calorie, but that's assuming that you only eat a miniscule portion. Even if it claims to be healthy for you, make sure to read the label and learn what you are putting in your body. You may be shocked at just so healthy "diet" foods can be.
Be Extra Cautious About Trans Fats
You probably already have heard by now that trans fats are really bad for your health and cholesterol levels. And snack foods are the one area where trans fats usually pop up. Even if you see "zero grams of trans fat" proudly and loudly emblazoned on the packaging, that doesn't mean that you should trust it.
By law, if an item has less than half a gram of trans fat per serving, it can legally be advertised as having "zero grams of trans fat." How you can tell if it actually has trans fats or not is by looking at the ingredients list. If you see the phrase "partially hydrogenated" anywhere on there, you should try to avoid that food.
If you are looking for something that you can usually snack on, you can't go wrong with fruit and granola. No diet should ever have you feeling hungry all the time, so smart snacking should be an integral part of your overall fitness plan.
Chris McCombs is a Long Beach personal trainer in California. One breezy day while walking out of a fish taco restaurant Chris stumbled onto a radical approach to losing fat at a rapid rate which he helps people all over Long Beach do today. Chris is also a personal training marketing expert and helps self employed personal trainers to triple their income and cut their work hours in half.
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