Skipping meals, restricting calories, being “disciplined?” It’s all a sham! A study published just this January showed participants who ate at least six times a day had lower BMIs, and consumed fewer calories, than those who ate just three meals.
But that doesn’t mean you should tear open the nearest bag of Cheetos and dive in. The snack aisle of your local supermarket is strewn with questionable chemicals, catastrophic calories and snacks that are stripped of all their sustenance. Making the smart choice is critical.
To help you choose the best crunchy, salty, creamy, chocolatey indulgences—and strip away up to 30 pounds or more a year, without dieting—we at Eat This, Not That! just released our annual report on the 10 Best-Ever Snacks for Weight Loss, compliments of the all-new book Eat This, Not That! 1,247 Awesome Slimming Swaps.
Tear open a bag—and let the weight loss begin!
Wholly Guacamole, 100-calorie pack
100 calories, 9 g fat (1.5 g sat fat), 200 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 1 g protein
Most pre-made guacamole is lacking in one crucial ingredient: guacamole. Avocados, specifically (adios, Ortega). But Wholly Guacamole is what it says it is: real food, with no added oils, starches and artificial colors. Avocados pack in healthy monounsaturated fats that contain oleic acid, which can actually help quiet feelings of hunger. Which means this snack will actually do what afternoon snacks are intended to do: keep you full and focused until dinnertime. And keep that waistline toned and tight with these essential 14 Ways to Lose Your Belly in 14 Days!
MaraNatha Almond Butter, No Salt, Creamy, 2 Tbsp
190 calories, 17 g fat (1.5 g sat fat), 0 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 7 g protein
Sure, peanut butter is cheaper, but when it comes to weight loss, almond butter is like PB on steroids. In fact, a study from the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders compared subjects on a low-fat diet with others who followed a diet richer in fat—but the fat was supplied by almonds. The almond group lost 50 percent more weight off their waistlines than the low-fat dieters, despite the fact that both groups consumed the same amount of total calories. Try smearing some over apple slices for a tasty blend of sweet and savory (bonus points if you choose a red apple over green—red fruits have higher nutrient counts).
SkinnyPop, 3 ¾ cups
150 calories, 10 g fat (1 g sat fat), 75 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 2 g protein
Eat for size, and win the weight-loss prize. “Volumetrics” is an eating plan championed by researchers at Penn State University, and it’s based on eating foods that take up a lot of space in your gut—without a lot of calories. For example, a huge salad—or in this case, nearly 4 cups of popcorn—will leave you more satisfied than a square of chocolate, and for far fewer calories. We love SkinnyPop because it’s free of additives and tasty without being too salty. Fill up, but don’t fill out: Use these Eat This, Not That!-recommended 10 Daily Habits That Blast Belly Fat.
KIND Caramel Almond & Sea Salt, 1 bar
200 calories, 16 g fat (3 g sat fat), 125 mg sodium, 7 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 6 g protein
The sweetness of caramel, the fat of almonds, the added sea salt—wait, this is a diet food?! Yes! KIND keeps the sugar content low while packing this bar with healthy fats, which slow the body’s absorption of sugar and carbs, keeping blood sugar levels stable and focus laser-sharp long after snack time is over. A study published in Nutrition Journal found that consuming low-sugar, high-protein snacks promotes weight loss. The reason: Healthy snacking keeps your blood-sugar from spiking, preventing hunger pangs, cravings and body fat storage.
EPIC Grass-Fed Protein Bar, Bison, 1 bar
200 calories, 12 g fat (5 g sat fat), 220 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 8 g sugar, 11 g protein
Okay, so maybe when you think “snack,” your first thought isn’t “Where can I get me some bison?” But buffalo is much leaner than other meats, and makes for a better jerky, especially when paired with organic spices and dried fruit. Adding low-sugar, high-protein snacks to your daily diet can help fuel weight loss efforts by boosting metabolism and reducing hunger pangs.
Fage Total 2%, 7 oz
150 calories, 4 g fat (3 g sat fat), 65 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 8 g sugar, 20 g protein
Packed with protein, crammed with calcium, popping with probiotics, yogurt has all the makings of the best weight loss foods. But tread ye carefully in the aisle of the fermented milk products; manufacturers have a knack for cramming as much sugar and artificial ingredients into yogurt pots as they do candy bars. The next time you find yourself discombobulated in the dairy section, reach for the Fage (pronounced fa-yeh). Not just creamier and more delicious than most yogurts, the brand’s little bit of milkfat in the 2% variety allows your body to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins in the yogurt. Plus, you can’t get a much purer ingredient list than this: milk, cream and cultures.
Belly Fat Fighter!
Kashi Original 7 Grain Sea Salt Pita Crisps, 11 crisps
120 calories, 3 g fat (0 g sat fat), 180 mg sodium, 5 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 3 g protein
Pita chips sound more exotic than corn chips, so a lot of us immediately think they must be healthier, too. But step back from that snack: Most brands douse their pita in heavy oils and then roll them in sodium. Kashi's, on the other hand, have a modest 120 calories and 180 mg sodium per serving. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers discovered that obese participants who added whole grains to their diets lost more belly fat than those who did not. One of the key weight-loss benefits of whole grains: their healthy dose of fiber helps slow digestion, keeping you fuller longer. And to enjoy your guilty pleasures, guilt-free, indulge in these 10 Best Junk Foods for Weight Loss.
Eden Organic Pumpkin Seeds, ¼ cup
200 calories, 16 g fat (3 g sat fat), 100 mg sodium, 5 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 10 g protein
Not only are they loaded with protein and fiber, but pumpkin seeds are also one of the world’s best sources of magnesium, a mineral that helps strengthen bones and improve blood circulation. In addition to a generous portion of satiating protein, one ounce of the tiny seeds serves up 75 percent of your day’s magnesium, which can ward off water retention (read: no more bloated belly). The nutrient can also help relax your blood vessels, nixing deadline-induced headaches.
Horizon Organic Mozzarella String Cheese, 1 stick
80 calories, 6 g fat (3.5 g sat fat), 200 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 8 g protein
Each low-fat stick of this brand has a fifth of your day’s calcium intake, which means a low-fat you as well. Some researchers speculate that dairy calcium helps fight fat because it increases the “thermic effect” of eating—in other words, you burn more calories digesting calcium-rich foods than you would if you ate something with the same number of calories, but no calcium. Try a piece of pre-sliced, low-fat cheese like mozzarella or Monterey Jack with some wheat crackers, recommends Christine M. Palumbo, a Chicago-based dietician. “Cracked Pepper and Olive Oil Triscuits work great for this and have a really nice flavor,” she says.
Chocolate Belly Melter!
Vitalicious VitaBrownie, 1 brownie
100 calories, 2 g fat (0.5 g sat fat), 105 mg sodium, 10 g fiber, 10 g sugar, 4 g protein
With VitaBrownies, you can satisfy your craving for something sweet at any time of the day without sabotaging your diet. Each chocolaty square packs 8 grams of whole grains—a dietary staple of people with the littlest middles. A Public Health Nutrition study found that participants who ate three or more servings of whole grains had 10 percent less belly fat than people who ate the same amount of calories from refined carbs (like bad-for-you brownies). When it comes to diet and snacking, being unrefined is a good thing!