Make Meals Into Snacks

by Rachel on September 16, 2009

We’ve all heard that snacking is good for weight loss. Two 150-200 calorie snacks a day, as part of healthy diet, is the standard recommendation. It keeps your blood sugar stable, metabolism chugging along, and keeps you from getting HANGRY–which undeniably leads to overeating later on. There are a lot of great snacks out there, but they are always just so, well, snacky. Small, crunchy, and (quite often) ehhh, boring!! My suggestion is to break out of your snack rut by turning meals into snacks.

There are enough low-calorie, filling, healthy foods out there that you can make into a full meal…or you can adjust slightly to make into a snack on steriods. Here are some suggestions.

Soup and bread. OK my soup obsession is undeniable, but seriously, what an awesome snack! You can find soups that range from 60 calories to 150 calories per serving, and that also pack veggies, protein, and fiber. Soup is great because it forces you to slow down for your snack. When you scarf a 100-calorie pack in 2.5 minutes, do you even remember eating it? But soup takes a little longer. Not only do the nutrients fill you up, the broth does too. I love the great flavors from Amy’s and Imagine Organics, but of course, you can make your own. Adding a slice of whole-wheat bread and a sliced red pepper or some baby carrots will make it feel like a meal–but you can easily keep it under 200 calories (or less, depending on your soup and bread choices).

A sandwich and an apple. To keep this snack under 200 calories, use light whole wheat bread (look for 40 calories per slice) and 1-2 ounces of very thinly sliced deli turkey. I love Deli Select Ultra Thins even though the name sounds like a condom; just 50 calories per two ounce serving! And it prevents pregnancy! (Juuuust kidding.) Top with a little mustard, lettuce, tomato, and onions. Eat with an apple and a pickle. A good follow-up to a healthy salad lunch!

Nonfat Greek yogurt, berries, and cereal. Are we breakfasting or are we snacking? Oh, we’re snacking! Top the yogurt with a half-cup of berries, a drizzle of yogurt, and something for crunch. I love that new Kashi cereal, and the original Fiber One is really low in calories and (obviously) high in fiber. You can also do slivered almonds or low-fat granola. To make it more like a meal, whip it all up in a big bowl, instead of eating it out of the yogurt carton.

A mini-bagel with tuna and fruit. I love whole-wheat mini bagels!! So versatile!! Mix an ounce of tuna (around half of a small can) with a little mustard and some chopped celery, pickles, or green onions. Eat with an orange. Boom! Protein, healthy fat, fiber, whole grains, FISH GOAL, and so satisfying compared to a pre-packaged bar.

A wrap. There are many 100-calorie wraps with protein and fiber on the market, so pick one that suits your taste. Spread with two tablespoons of hummus and fill with as many veggies as possible! Have a plum or some cherries for a sweet finish.

Oatmeal and PB or mashed banana. Such a great bedtime snack! Something about it makes me so drowsy and happy. And it’s hard to keep refilling (unlike its bastard sister cold cereal).

When turning a meal into a snack, shave a few calories off by cutting out cheese/other extras and pump it up with veggies and fruit to add crunch. Snacky snacks have their place, but sometimes, it’s so nice to sit down with something substantial to get you through the home stretch till dinner. You can eat a bag of chips or you can eat a bountiful, colorful meal. Hey, it’s up to you, but if your snacking is lacking, give this a try.

Have a great day!!

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