Snacking often has bad reputation given the fact that we don’t track the quantity or choose the right filling foods in between meals.
Surprising fact about snacking unknown to many is that snacking on right foods help burn body fat.
I recently came across a zen proverb which simplifies our call to action
“When walking, walk. When eating, eat”
So, start savoring every bite and you can materialize a concept known as mindful snacking for losing body fat.
Mindful snacking for losing body fat:
Isn’t it wonderful to know that by implementing mindful snacking we can have the best of both worlds? We need not starve ourselves till the next meal instead by choosing the right filling foods we can burn fat.
Before we delve into filling foods to choose, let us first understand the consensus backed by research on what determines our snacking preferences.
What influences our snacking preferences?
Your body mass index may influence your snacking preferences.
Have you ever calculated your BMI?
A study reported in British journal of nutrition outlines that people with BMI greater than 25kg/m2 have propensity for choosing sweet snacks, chocolates, ice creams and crisp snacks.
People with BMI below 25kg/m2 usually tend to choose healthy snacks such as those containing yogurt and nuts.
It seems to be an obvious link between BMI and snacking preferences. Regardless of your BMI value by starting to be mindful of your choices, you can influence your mind-gut connection.
Because, human gut is considered as second brain with a hub for around 20 different hormones interacting with our brain regulating diet, moods, overall mental and physical health.
In the long run, you will by instinct choose the healthier options for snacking.
Your Body fat and waist circumference influence your snacking preferences:
Body fat distribution correlates with your snacking preferences. Two people having same BMI in healthy range may differ greatly in their body fat distribution with their food choices being the major determinants.
Women with higher body fat and waist circumference have tendency to snack on crisps, ice creams, sweets, chocolates and fried foods more frequently as compared to those with normal body fat.
By changing your snacking choices by being more mindful, you can consequently lose excess body fat.
Stress and mental health influence your snacking preferences:
We don’t need any confirmation to the fact that most of us during stress or emotional phases tend to snack on fast foods high in salt, fat and sugar e.g., chips, desserts, sugar sweetened beverages.
Yes, these foods may momentarily elevate your mood and act as stress reliever. But these foods prompt release of stress hormones by altering the mind-gut signaling.
This in turn affects your cognitive abilities, increases tiredness and reduces your attention span. In short, these foods negatively influence your mental health.
How to choose the right filling foods to lose body fat?
If you search on net for filling foods then you will surely get suggestions ranging from low calorie filling foods to the trending foods to burn excess body fat
Most of the times the recipes mentioned may not be native to your culture and personal preferences. Or maybe those trending healthy snacks found on shelves in other countries are not even manufactured in your country.
As a result, I decided to outline points to consider while making or choosing filling foods to lose body fat.
1. Select whole foods over fast foods to lose body fat:
A research study reported in the journal of food and nutrition research says that consumption of whole foods increases the total number of calories we burn in a day whereas, consumption of fast foods decreases it.
Whole foods have macro and micro nutrients in a complex matrix and body burns calories to digest them. Therefore, whole foods promote fat loss.
Processed foods have refined grains, simplified sugars, fat and added nutrients in a simple matrix which require very few calories for digestion. Moreover, the net gain of calories from them is very high.
In a nutshell, foods that decrease the expenditure of calories promote weight gain with women being more susceptible to weight gain compared to men.
2. You need to snack on protein and fibre rich foods to burn excess body fat:
Macronutrients such as proteins utilize more energy for digestion and metabolism compared to fats and sugars. Additionally, proteins resists its conversion to fats whereas excess carbohydrates eventually gets stored as fat.
Fibre in foods slows absorption of glucose that stabilizes blood sugar levels by providing satiety.
As a result, having foods rich in protein and fibre can help you burn calories.
Additionally, if you regularly do light cardio or any low intensity exercises then foods rich in protein and fibre can in fact help you first lose your belly fat.
Furthermore, snacking on foods high in protein and fibre not only makes you feel full as well as helps you work without distractions till the next meal. To understand about role of satiety in healthy eating read my post
Best protein and fibre snack foods that are easily available:
Specific fruits such as Bananas, oranges, kiwi, Guava, Avocado, apricot, blackberries, Cantaloupe, peaches, raspberry etc, have high protein and fibre content.
If breakfast is not your favorite meal of the day then for mid morning snacks combine these fruits with yogurt.
We tend to focus on the fat content of yogurt instead pay attention to protein and sugars in it and choose the variety that is high in protein and low in sugars.
Not everyone would like yogurt with fruits for mid morning snacks. If you prefer having light biscuits and cookies then search for fibre enriched biscuits.
To be more specific search in your nearby stores for biscuits made with barley flour enriched with beta-glucan.
If you love to have sandwiches for mid morning snacks, make bite size sandwiches using bread made from oats and barley. Whole grain breads are rich source of fibre and beta-glucan. Hence, the best foods to lose body fat.
3. What to choose as mid afternoon snacks to lose body fat?
At my former work place, I noticed that by mid afternoon, my teammates start online food ordering for pastries, sweets, crisps and fried foods.
These choices by instinct stem from the pressure due to the impending work for the day. Although processed foods high in sugar and fat when consumed as mid afternoon snacks perks up mood, it affects your productivity.
On top of that, you may start having hunger pangs much before your dinner time as processed foods offer low satiety.
Supposing in breakfast or mid morning snack you didn’t have yogurt with fruits then you might have it as your afternoon snack.
For a period of 1 month every time you think of snacks have yogurt with fruits or yogurt with walnuts, almonds and pistachios. Make this part of your daily snacking then you will no longer pine for fast foods.
Alternatively, have prunes, dried plums, apricots, nut based crackers, and multigrain cookies.
4. Snacking choices to lose body fat for crisps lovers:
Potato chips, taco chips and French fries, the mostly loved crisps increase your sodium intake. Daily sodium intake should be within the range of 1,500 to 2,300 milligrams.
To mention a few examples:
100gms of Potato chips of barbecue flavor has 642mg of sodium
100gms of Potato chips of cheese flavor has 600mg of sodium
100gms of salted Potato chips has 480mg of sodium
100gms of Potato chips of sour cream and onion flavor has 541mg of sodium
Also to get the crunchiness crisps such as French fries are made using oils high in trans fats that increase your risk of heart problems. Hydrogenated soybean oil, the commonly used oil for frying to get the crispiness.
You will find many suggestions on healthy crisps but make sure you check the sodium content of the packs. Choose baked crisps over the conventional ones.
To mention a best available option, bake your own shiitake mushroom crisps and within no time they will become your favorite snacks. I have linked to the recipe of Shiitake crisps
Mushrooms such as shiitake, maiitake, oyster varieties are good sources of beta glucan. Snacking on beta glucan rich food lowers the bad cholesterol aka LDL in blood.
5. Snacking to lose body fat for cheese lovers:
I love cheeses so much that just a picture of dripping cheese makes me hungry. Health conscious people often stay away from cheeses given to the gross generalization of cheeses as unhealthy.
In my post why fat in dairy is good for you, I have cleared most of the misconceptions on having fat rich dairy foods.
Cheeses will help you burn calories provided you pick natural cheeses rather than processed cheeses. Natural cheeses are must-have foods to lose body fat. The best part is that you can go for full fat cheeses when you pick natural cheeses.
How to differentiate natural from processed cheeses?
Natural cheeses do not contain whey and emulsifiers.
Processed cheeses have whey and emulsifiers and are made by mixing varieties of cheeses or by mixing portions of the same type of cheese at different stages of ripening.
In general, label of natural cheeses will have these ingredients:
Pasteurized milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes, annatto (vegetable color), Natamycin (A natural mold inhibitor).
Label of a processed cheese will most likely have these ingredients:
Milk, whey, milk fat, milk protein concentrate, salt, calcium phosphate, sodium citrate, whey protein concentrate, sodium phosphate, ascorbic acid as a preservative, apocarotenal (color), annatto (color), enzymes, vitamin D3, cheese culture.
Quick summary for choosing filling foods to lose body fat:
- Your body mass index and body fat influence your snacking choices. So, start being mindful of your choices to reduce body fat.
- Eating less won’t reduce your belly fat instead you may start losing muscle. Therefore, snacking on right filling foods in between meals can promote burning excess body fat.
- Whole foods comprising nuts, whole grain breads, natural cheeses, fruits, salads can help you burn body fat. Processed foods reduce your body’s efficiency in losing fat.
- Snack on high protein and fibre foods such as yogurt with fruits and nuts at least once in a day.
- Select baked crisps over fried ones. Check for sodium content and trans fats on the labels.