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Friday, April 21, 2006

Guiltless Snacking For Weight Loss

Some people believe that skipping meals helps them lose weight. But experts agree that if you frequently miss meals, your metabolism will slow down. With a sluggish metabolism, your body takes longer to burn calories, which means that you won’t lose weight faster.

A better approach is to eat smaller, balanced meals with healthy snacks in between. Yeah, that’s right, snacks! You can snack and lose weight. The trick is to choose snacks and portions that will give you the results you want. These tips can help you improve your metabolism and lose weight:

1. Don’t’ wait until you’re ravenous to eat. If you do, you’ll run the risk of overeating.
2. Every day, eat three balanced meals and two or more nutritious snacks.
3. Don’t skip breakfast.
4. Stay active to burn fat and build muscle.
5. Eat fruits and/or vegetables with every meal. They’re low-cal and high-nutrient.
6. Drink plenty of water to keep your body’s complex systems working in tip-top shape.
7. Instead of sodas and other sugary drinks, stick to unsweetened herbal teas (iced or hot) and, of course, water. A glass or two a day of low-fat or skim milk is also fine.
8. Eat small portions of snacks in between meals.
9. Vary your snacks to keep them interesting.

Guiltless snacking involves eating foods that are good for you so that you neither deprive yourself nor starve your body while you shed pounds. With the terrific variety of foods available at any grocery store these days, you can make selections that will keep you feeling satisfied while you watch inches disappear from your waist. Guiltless snacks include:

* Fresh-cut veggies (carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, radishes, or a combination of these)
* Your favorite cooked vegetable (green beans, asparagus, Brussels sprouts)
* Fruit (an apple, orange, grapefruit, banana or nectarine; a cup of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries; melon slices; or a fruit salad)
* A mini-salad (such as mixed salad greens with mandarin orange slices and walnuts; make your own dressing with lemon juice and a little olive oil)
* A handful of cherry tomatoes
* Whole-grain crackers with low-fat cheese or hummus
* Whole-grain toast with a slice of tomato
* Soft- or hard-boiled egg
* Bowl of oatmeal
* Half a cup of brown rice (for variety, try adding nuts or raisins)
* A handful of nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts)
* Low-fat yogurt (plain is best – add your own fruit)
* Whole-grain muffin (half if it’s large)
* Oatmeal cookie
* Graham crackers

The best snacks are natural, organic ones low in sugar and salt. Keep your portions modest; you’re not eating a whole meal, you’re giving your body an energy boost between meals and you’re satisfying your hunger. Drink a glass of water with your snack to help you feel full and stay hydrated. By snacking smart, you can feel full and lose weight. You can stay energized throughout the whole day. Guiltless snacking is good for you!

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