A: There are two schools of thought on this one. The first is you shouldn’t tempt yourself by having snacks. According to some trainers, snacks only make you hungrier. You might start with some relatively healthy ones, like some grapes or popcorn or rice cakes, but eventually you’ll just crave more. You’ll eat more popcorn until you can’t stand the blandness anymore and then move on to chocolate and then to pizzas and more until you’re off your plan completely.
The second school, and the one I subscribe to, is that snacks help you stay on your diet plan. If you don’t cheat now and then, you just crave more and more until one day you break down and binge on anything in sight. I can tell you from personal experience this is a very bad thing. I’ve lost several roommates because of this. No, I didn’t eat them, but I did empty the refrigerator without having money to replace the food. People tend to cross you off the lease when you do that.
The trick with the cheat is to pick a healthy snack that’s filling and will satisfy your cheating urge completely. Preferably you’ll only need to chow down a few of these and then be able to go several days before needing to cram something off-diet in your face again. I say eat your fill in one sitting, though, because if you don’t satisfy yourself, you’ll be cheating again soon. So binge away!
Let’s run down a list of possible foods:
Perhaps the most important. It will make you feel full and keep you regular. You’re probably eating a lot of foods on your diet your body isn’t used to, so odds are you’re off your usual bathroom schedule. Oatmeal is an excellent source of fiber, and it’s been proven in some studies to be great for your heart.
Fruit has even more fiber, usually, and it’s sweet. A snack with fruit and fruit juices can knock a lot of refined sugar out of the mix. Some good choices could be dried cranberries, dried cherries, or raisins.
Face it: some snacks will have sugar in them. Try to stick to snacks with raw, natural sugar or one of the more natural sweetener substitutes available now like stevia and agave. Your pancreas and liver will thank you for not forcing them to process artificial, cancer causing crud like aspartame.
The body craves fat. Why else would it create so much of its own? Even though you’re trying to get rid of yours, if you don’t take any in, the body gets confused and just keeps creating more fat! It’s a horrible cycle. So, your snack should include some mono- or polyunsaturated fats such as olive oil or peanut butter. Butter is not so great, but if it’s all you have, use a little. Better that than sandpaper cookies.
In my years working at the top fitness centers across the United States and my time spent freelancing here at home while working on my fantasy novel, I can say I’ve tested a lot of snack foods. I’ve come to the conclusion the best way to stop those hunger pangs is to combine all the elements listed above into one thing: oatmeal raisin cookies.
Oatmeal raisin cookies are perfectly healthy! They can be baked using the best kinds of fats and sugars (try coconut oil — yum!), and they contain fiber-rich oatmeal and raisins. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say they are a “Superfood,” ranking up there with blueberries, kale, nuts, and whole grains. You can make a batch and they keep for quite a long time. Bake them small. It feels like you’re eating even more than the batch you made, so you should be fully satisfied. I guarantee your cravings will cease! I tend to eat two trays at a sitting right now. Not great for my physique. Awesome for the regularity, though. You’ll certainly do better!