If you’ve decided to work on your weight, you may have noticed that you get particularly hungry at certain times of the day. For some people, it’s the morning, for others, the afternoon slump. For many, it’s the evening. That’s why it’s good to have some healthy snacks for weight loss on hand for the latter part of the day–check out our favorite Prevention Generation picks:
If you want something light and fun to eat while you enjoy your evening TV shows, popcorn is a great choice. Choose an air-popped variety for a low-calorie treat. Popcorn has a little protein, a lot of fiber, and is ideal for satisfying your evening hunger without adding too many calories to your day’s intake. You can spice up your popcorn with cayenne or chili, satisfy your sweet tooth with a sprinkle of low-calorie sweetener, or add a savory kick with a little parmesan cheese.
For a more substantial snack, try a handful of almonds, cashews or other nuts. You will find a small amount of these surprisingly satiating, especially if you eat them with a big glass of low-fat milk or your favorite lower-calorie beverage. Almonds, in particular, are a great choice: they pack in plenty of protein along with vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients. Tree nuts are high in fiber and are an excellent way to get the protein you need.
Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) are a highly versatile addition to your pantry. They’re high in protein and fiber, low in calories and very satisfying. Chickpeas can be prepared in a variety of ways. You can treat canned chickpeas like any other bean, adding them to a vegetable medley or stirring them into a pasta dish. You can roast cooked chickpeas for a quick and easy evening snack. Chickpeas can also be turned into hummus, by pureeing them with tahini, garlic and olive oil. This tasty, nutritious dip becomes a hearty snack when served with toasted whole wheat pita chips. If you don’t have the time to make your own, buy ready-made fat-reduced hummus for a convenient snack.
Nut butter and raw vegetables or fruit
For an evening snack that’s healthy, filling and delivers plenty of balanced nourishment, reach for vegetables or fruit and tasty nut butter. Nut butters should be used relatively sparingly, as they tend to be high in fats, but they are valuable because of the amount of nutrition they provide. The old childhood favorite known as “ants on a log” (celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins) is a very healthy option. Another tasty combination is slices of orange or tangerines with hazelnut butter. If you have a sweet tooth that tends to be more pronounced in the evening, try grapes with smooth almond butter.
Healthy, tasty, and easy to prepare, avocados make a great evening snack. You can add dressing to avocado chunks, mash avocados on whole-wheat toast, or turn them into a batch of fresh guacamole dip for raw vegetables or low-fat corn chips. Avocados are packed with healthy fats and taste great.
Many people who are focused on weight management will claim that eating after a certain point in the evening will contribute to weight gain. The rationale for this notion is that if you eat during the least active part of the day, you won’t have a chance to burn off the calories you’ve consumed. Luckily, this isn’t the case — it’s not the time of day when you eat that matters but the overall calorie deficit you create. As long as you burn off those calories at some point, you will not gain weight by eating healthy snacks in the evening.
Food eaten before bed should be light and easy to digest, so it doesn’t contribute to poor sleep. It should be reasonably low in calories and fat, although a little healthy fat is fine. It’s fine to eat chocolate and other foods containing caffeine earlier in the day, but you should avoid them in the evenings. Choose something with plenty of protein and fiber, which will help keep your blood sugar from spiking later on and possibly making it hard to sleep.
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