Snacking Mistakes to Avoid for Weight Loss
#1 Not Snacking At All
It’s common to try to keep snack calories and portions to a minimum, because you’re under the impression something’s wrong with reaching in the pantry in between meals. “But that’s not true,” says Kristen Peterson, RD, owner of PrimeLife Nutrition. “Snacking helps you avoid getting hangry,” she says. “Plus, eating 4–5 smaller and more frequent meals throughout the day is a proven strategy for increased weight loss.”
The fix: Instead of snacking on something low-cal that won’t satisfy you (like carrots or celery sticks) pair them with 2 tablespoons hummus or peanut butter, suggests Peterson. This more filling option won’t break the calorie bank and should help keep you from overeating later.
#2 Snacking When You're Not Hungry
If you’ve ever reached for something sweet or salty out of pure boredom you’re definitely not alone. “Sometimes it’s the candy bowl in the office or late-night eating while watching TV,” says Melissa Boufounos, certified holistic nutritionist. Over time, these small bites can add up and prevent you from reaching your goals.
The fix: Before reaching for a snack, do a hunger check. “On a hunger scale of 1–10, 1 being not hungry at all and 10 being the hungriest you’ve ever felt, you should aim to eat when you’re around 7,” says Boufounos.
#3 Not Planning
“If you have a lighter lunch at noon and didn’t remember to pack any snacks, you’re almost guaranteed to reach for something less healthy on your way home or overeat at dinner,” says Peterson.
The fix: Make snack prep a part of your regular meal prep routine, advises Peterson. You can also keep some crackers and cheese or healthy homemade trail mix at the office. “It’s always better to have something on hand in case, even if you’re not hungry and end up saving your snack for the next day.”