How often to eat diet snacks is just as important as what you eat, no matter which diet plan you are trying. Eating often in small amounts, which is often referred to as grazing, is recommended to keep your metabolism charged up. Diet plans that encourage you to eat 5 to 6 meals/snacks a day will accomplish that, as well as supply you with enough energy.
The Ideal Eating Plan
Ideally you would eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and 2 snacks, while never allowing more than 4 hours to pass between meals and snacks. The snack servings should contain about 100 to 150 calories. Drinking 8 to 10 ounces of water with your snack will help you feel fuller and more satisfied. Wait at least one hour after eating before working out. This gives food time to be converted to usable energy and the blood cells used in digestion will now be available to transport oxygen for your workout. Finally, enjoy a guilt-free, post-workout diet snack immediately after your workout. You have earned it, and your body will need it for recovery.
Zone Diet Snacks
Proponents of the Zone Diet would recommend 3 meals a day, where calories are balanced with 40 percent from carbohydrates, 30 percent from lean proteins, and 30 percent from healthy fats (with zone diet snacks 2 times a day in between meals). These zone diet snacks also have the same composition, but are smaller than meals at about 100 calories. Eating fruits and vegetables, raw or slightly cooked, is encouraged. Some examples are:
- ¼ cup cottage cheese, ½ cup of fruit and nuts
- 1 oz string cheese, ½ cup fruit or vegetable
- 1 oz lean turkey with ½ cup fruit or vegetable
- 1 cup of whole milk
- ¾ cup of Morning surprise
Low Carb Diet Snacks
Atkins Dieter’s and low carb dieter’s can combine many foods, as long as the total digestible (total sugars minus fiber sugars) sugars are low. There is a lot of flexibility in these diets if you use sugar free products. Many of your favorite recipes can be modified by replacing sugar with splenda. It just takes a little creativity with some trial and error. Some suggestions are:
- 1 Deli rollup
- ½ cup Mandarin Delight
- Sugar Free Jell-O Pudding
- Protein shake
- Protein bar
Healthy Snack Recipes
Some other healthy snack ideas to try while dieting are:
- Mandarin Delight – Combine cottage cheese, mandarin oranges and sugar free orange Jell-o and chill overnight; Serving is ½ cup
- Protein Shake – Combine 1 scoop of vanilla whey protein powder, 3/4 cup fresh fruit, 1 cup skim milk, ½ cup ice. Blend into a smoothie.
- Deli rollup – Layer deli sandwich meat, sliced cheese, and a vegetable. Roll up and secure with a toothpick and an olive.
- Morning surprise – Add cinnamon, walnuts, flaxseed oil, and splenda to cooked oatmeal.