Snacking for weight loss is a thing, as counterintuitive as that sounds. Eating more often to lose weight? Yup, it can work. “People trying to lose weight may want to skip snacking in order to cut calories, but then you tend to become extra hungry between meals,” Samantha Finkelstein, R.D., founder of Nerdy Girl Nutrition, tells SELF. “Any time your blood sugar drops and you become ravenous, it’s harder to make sound food choices.”
Before we get into it, though, important disclaimer: Losing weight is different for every person, so what works for someone else may not work for you. There’s no such thing as a quick fix, and if your goal is to lose weight, it’s important to have realistic expectations and to approach the goal in a healthy and thoughtful way. Losing weight isn’t just about food intake, also; your sleep, your stress levels, your health, and your hormones can all play a role, making it a super personalized thing that looks different from one person to the next. And if you have a history of disordered eating, it’s important to talk to a doctor before you begin messing with your eating habits. Even if you don’t have a history of disordered eating, it’s important to think about why you’re trying to lose weight, and to consider what kind of energy you might need to put in to doing it—and really check in with yourself about whether that kind of effort will be healthy for you in a holistic sense. In many cases, the healthier thing is to eat mindfully, pay attention to your body, and not spend time or brainpower thinking about calories or the numbers on the scale. Again—it’s personal. The most important thing is to be good to yourself.
Now let’s talk snacks. Snacking is a superstar habit, even if you’re not trying to lose weight. Peppering healthy mini-meals throughout your day keeps your energy stable, allowing you to power through the day, and it prevents you from overeating at proper meals. Here, registered dietitians share eight key rules for how to snack the right way.