Snacks will help you stave of hunger and raise your metabolism, these five are great for that!

If you are serious about losing weight, you are not on a diet. You have made some lifestyle changes, and need all the support you can get. Bodybuilders are the people with the lowest fat percentage in the world, aside from the clinically dead. We can learn some very valuable lessons from them (bodybuilders, not the dead...usually), and put them to good use under our substantially less rigid diet. If you talk to the  largest, most cut and fit looking guy/gal in the gym, you will be surprised at how much good diet advice he/she can give you. One important thing they do is space out meals throughout the day and eat 5-6 meals a day. They do that to keep their metabolism high. Most of them do: Breakfast, Snack, Lunch, Snack 2, Dinner, Snack 3 (to prevent muscle breakdown at night - it gets really complicated when you get to their level of commitment).

That leaves us mere mortals with the dilemma of the snacks. The idea is that you don't eat a full meal every Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. You eat a little less, because you are less hungry, because you had a snack between meals. How big a snack? I do 100-200 calories. What to do with such a rich amount of calories to spend? Here are 5 choices that I've stuck to for a long time.

  1. Low Fat Yogurt - Look at the back of the label, and make sure it's showing less than 200 calories. Since you have a budget of calories to spend, now you can shop for calories when you go to the supermarket. Most have a gazillion types of Yogurt. I'd go for the biggest on you can get away with but no bigger than the size of a fist. As long as it is real yogurt (no need for exotic diet versions) it will fill you for a while and keep you from munching on sugary snacks.
  2. Peanuts - Yep, these are actually good for you. Peanuts are pretty high protein and will stave off hunger for a while. Again, check the snack section for these and drop the nachos next to the cheese. Or find a really skinny girl shopping for soup and drop it on her shopping cart (consider it charity). Some planters snacks have dried fruit in there as well. Just make sure that you're below the 200 mark and that there is a substantial snack in there. Too small a snack will only make you hungry quickly and won't help you reach your goal (reaching the next meal without feasting on a bowl of Cheetos).
  3. Apples or Pears - An apple a day keeps the doctor away. These are pretty good snacks. How much to eat? About half an apple should be enough. The high fiber is a plus, and the fact that you are eating something that was not processed is also good for you. A little salt should help if you're not a big fan of fruits.
  4. Cheese - That 8th wonder of the ancient world. You can have your cheese and eat it too. Cheese is pretty filling and pretty tasty, but the amount will have to be small. One of the best snacks you can have is an aged cheddar. Make sure the portions are right. If you but a large slice, look at the calorie count and do the math. These will be complicated as most of the vendors are trying to have you think you're eating less. By do the math, I mean look closely at "calories per serving" AND servings in the package. For example, a certain candy brand claims just "160 calories per serving". Wow! Slap me with mustard and call me hot-dog!  Doesn't seem like much for that "Fun Size" package, but buyer beware! The miserly 2 ounce package has 2.5 servings so the tiny bag has a whopping 400 calories. Hmm, that's about 80% of a Quarter Pounder with Cheese. So do the math right and you'll eat the right portion.
  5. Any frozen juice. This one's a favorite of mine and haven't found it anywhere else. Just pick a fruit juice you like , stick in the freezer and get the lid off with a can opener. Choose any canned juice and make sure the calorie count is right. Don't fall for the servings trick on this one. Make sure there aren't 5 servings per can and you're on your way to snack heaven.

So there you have it. Five different snacks that will help you stay on track. Watch out for the cheating with labels game that the food industry like to play. Happy snacking!