The Truth About Healthy Low Calorie Snacks
Sometimes it feels like everyday there is a new diet trend being marketed on the shelves at the grocery store. Low-calorie becomes low-fat, low-fat becomes high protein and so on.
What is one to do when faced with all these choices? What’s truly the best way to snack healthy?
In fact, significant studies over the past several years have shown that a high protein diet in particular is one of the best ways to lose weight, build muscle, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. We’ll go through the science explaining why high protein is often healthier than low calorie, and we’ll also provide some suggestions for snacking.
Why Does a High Protein Diet Work?
The human body needs a steady stream of carbohydrates, healthy fats, and proteins to continue functioning. By efficiently balancing how much we get of each of these macronutrients, we can better maintain a well-functioning body.
Protein affects the hormones that determine feelings of hunger. By eating protein, we help our bodies to feel fuller because hormones have increased our feelings of satiety. This can be particularly helpful if we are trying to eat less food.
Furthermore, studies have shown that protein has a higher thermic effect, or higher rate of metabolism, than carbohydrates and fats alone. In fact, nearly 30% of calories in protein are consumed from just to digest it. That means that for every 100 calories of protein consumed, 30 calories are already burned in the process.
Low Calorie vs. High Protein
Does the importance of high protein in a diet mean that caloric intake doesn’t matter? Not quite. The human body still abides by the laws of thermodynamics, meaning that to burn fat, more calories must be used than are consumed.
If weight loss is your goal, you will still need to consume fewer calories than you expend.
That being said, a high protein diet can help you to reach your goals more efficiently. Rather than just choosing a low calorie snack, you can choose a snack that is low calorie AND high protein to better help you towards your health goals.
Think of it this way: if you just have the munchies, prioritize a lower calorie count. If you need a snack to satiate your hunger and keep you going, prioritize higher protein levels.
Kickstart Your Morning
Starting your day with a high-protein meal can do wonders to keep your metabolism high and your hunger at bay throughout the day.
Cereal and granola are often touted as healthy low calorie snacks; however, even as a low calorie food, these foods are often highly processed and full of added sugars. Because of this, they’ll usually leave you hungry within hours after eating. And unfortunately, most granolas aren’t even low calorie. Rather, they’re quite calorie-dense.
Rather than reaching for the cereal box, try a hearty egg muffin.
To make, crack an egg into a greased muffin tin, gently whisk, and add cheese, vegetables, and seasonings. Repeat as many times as you’d like or until you’ve filled the muffin tin. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
Want to make these vegan? Mix chickpea flour with water in a 1:1 ratio until you’ve created an egg-like consistency, then repeat the process above.
Eat This but Add That
Several healthy, low calorie snacks can be improved by just combining them with some high protein snacks.
A salad for lunch can be a great way to get your daily serving of vegetables but the lack of protein can easily leave you starving before dinner. Hard boiled eggs, roasted chickpeas, and edamame can make your healthy low calorie snack into a healthy high protein meal—that’s still relatively low in calories.
Fruit is another great healthy low calorie snack that can easily be supplemented with protein for a more satiating meal. Combine your favorite nut butter with your apples and pears, or mix your pineapples and peaches into cottage cheese. Both will help stoke your metabolism and keep you full longer.
Healthy Low Calorie Snacks To Go
There are several snacks out there advertised as healthy low calorie snacks, but not all are created equal.
Pretzels can be a low calorie snack when consumed in small quantities, but they also consist of highly refined sugars and highly processed ingredients. Even “veggie chips” are rarely much healthier than greasy potato chips due to the processing that goes into making them.
Instead, opt for fresh cut vegetables with hummus. You’ll get all the benefits of the vitamins and minerals from the vegetables, plus the added protein and healthy fats from hummus.
Or, try the Pigless Pork Rinds from Outstanding Foods. These plant-based snacks are packed with 21 g of protein per bag, so you’ll be fuller, longer. Plus, they come in several flavors so you’ll always have something interesting to chomp on.
Healthy low calorie snacks are just one component of a healthy, balanced diet. Higher protein snacks can help you control your hunger and stoke your metabolism. And with so many delicious options available, you can easily begin integrating these snacks into your daily diet.
Don’t forget to check out Pigless Pork Rinds from Outstanding Foods as part of your high protein snack lineup. Find them at a store near you!