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R.D.’s Perspective

Safest Choice™ is pleased to feature Debbie Campbell’s expert insights as part of Jay’s Two Safe Eggs a Day Weight Loss blog series.

Smart Snacking

One of the most difficult things to do while attempting to lose weight is dealing with late afternoon and early evening hunger.  Many people watching their portions, calories, points, etc., often need a plan to manage those hunger pangs late in the workday; halfway between lunch and dinner can be a most uncomfortable time.  So, how does one manage this without blowing the diet, and what types of foods work for this mid-afternoon snack?

Healthy lunch option

First, we need to look at lunch; make sure that those calories and nutrients are adequate.  If lunch consists of a simple green salad with low-calorie dressing, then hunger will ensue 1 to 2 hours later, and that spells “dieting disaster.�?  To control hunger, I suggest that approximately 25% of the daily calories be consumed at lunch; so that in Jay’s case, he should be consuming about 500 to 600 calories at lunch, balanced in protein, carbohydrate, and fat.  A mid-afternoon snack of about 200 calories with an emphasis on complex carbohydrate and lean protein is desirable at 3:00 or 4:00.  This will help Jay get through the remainder of the work day and home without experiencing “irrational hunger�? when he walks in the door; irrational hunger may cause a direct beeline to the crackers, chips, nuts, etc.

Some other good ideas for late afternoon hunger:

  • 8 oz low calorie/low fat yogurt with a handful of grapes
  • Edamame with 6 to 8 multigrain crackers
  • A piece of part-skim mozzarella string cheese and an apple
  • ¼ cup hummus with baby carrots or sugar snap peas as a dipper
  • ½ cup non-fat cottage cheese with ½ cup of pineapple
  • A hard-boiled egg and an apple
  • Include a large glass of water with your snack

The key here is to combine lean protein with carbohydrate. I hope you enjoy these interesting, crunchy and satisfying snacks.  Edamame is especially high in protein (complete high biological value protein – similar to the quality of protein found in chicken and fish) and very low in fat. Soybeans are a very healthy food, and higher intakes of soy foods appear to be linked with lower rates of prostate cancer, breast and colon cancer, and osteoporosis.  Isn’t great when something so healthy also tastes so great?

Next blog:  Other factors that influence hunger.