Take the 2-minute tour ×
Physical Fitness Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for physical fitness professionals, athletes, trainers, and those providing health-related needs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm trying to lose weight, and I'm looking for something healthy to snack on. I've tried eating different kinds of fruit like apples, bananas, and grapes. Most of the time, the fruit will go bad before I have eaten it.

I still go back to my habit of buying/eating potato chips. I find that there's something addictive about chips that makes me want to eat most of the bag in a sitting.

Can anyone recommend a healthy snack that has that same sort of "addictiveness" that I can substitute for keeping potato chips in the house? What makes chips so addictive anyway?

share|improve this question

closed as off topic by Ivo Flipse Feb 22 '12 at 18:06

Questions on Physical Fitness Stack Exchange are expected to relate to physical fitness within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

add comment

2 Answers 2

up vote 16 down vote accepted

I think some of the "addictiveness" is learned. I've found that when I've been eating healthy, faithfully, for a couple weeks, I start to crave healthier foods, and my desire for things like french fries and potato chips fades away. But if I eat the old junk foods again, the old cravings will come back again for days.

Edit 2011-05-25: At the request of @Ivo Filpse I've added some information about why I recommend these foods. I've also linked the foods to ShopWell.com so that people can easily view their nutritional content. I am not affiliated with ShopWell.com in any way. I just find their site useful.

Some healthy snacks that I really like:

  • Applesauce. I recommend the unsweetened, all-natural variety. Yeah, it has some carbs and sugar, but it's about 1/3 the calories of ice cream and is almost as satisfying. 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce has about 120 calories, 4 grams of fiber, and 60% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. It is also very low sodium.
  • Watermelon. Watermelon is very low calorie by weight/volume, due to being mostly water. 1 cup of watermelon balls has only 46 calories, 21% of the RDC of vitamin C, almost no sodium at all, no fat, no cholesterol, and 1 gram of fiber.
  • Popcorn. This is one of the least healthy options on this list, but it's still a lot better than potato chips, and it might satisfy the "chip" craving. Popcorn is a "whole grain", high in fiber, and low in cholesterol. How much fat and sodium it has depends a lot on which variety you choose. There are healthier and less healthy options. I can't eat popcorn without some kind of seasoning, but to minimize the impact to your diet, try to avoid trans-fats like "partially hydrogenated oil" and varieties that have a lot of butter. Air popped is better than microwave.
  • String Cheese. This is a high protein option. One stick of the linked string cheese has only 70 calories, yet 8 grams of protein. That's 45% of the calories from protein! There is some fat and cholesterol (as with any dairy product), but it's not too bad. This isn't a low sodium option so watch that you don't go overboard (but again, not nearly as bad as potato chips).
  • Grapes. Grapes are higher sugar, and higher calorie, than watermelon or applesauce, but are still a pretty healthy choice. 110 calories per cup, they're full of vitamins, especially vitamin C. No fat or cholesterol. Almost no sodium.
  • Peanuts. Peanuts are high fat, so eat them in moderation. But eating 160 calories (1oz) of peanuts is a lot better for you than 1oz of potato chips. They're fairly high in protein, and a good source of fiber. No cholesterol. Lots of vitamins. Raw, unsalted peanuts have almost no sodium, but since you're probably going to want to eat them salted, you will end up with some sodium. Still, a lot better than potato chips. Peanuts can really fill you up and leave you feeling satisfied, where potato chips would have you feeling sluggish and craving more in a couple hours.
  • Triscuit crackers. Simple, natural, ingredients. Whole grain. High fiber. A good source of Iron. Not necessarily a low calorie option, and definitely not a low-carb one, but you're getting a lot more for those carbs than other salty snacks would give you. Eat them with tuna fish and/or cheese for a light meal! (Incidentally, Tuna is an awesome source of protein and other nutrients, although I don't really consider it a "snack")
  • Greek yogurt. This is a high protein option. About 40% of the calories from protein! And you can get even healthier by choosing a "vanilla" or "honey" flavor, although honestly I really don't like the non-fruit varieties. Blueberry's my favorite. Greek yogurt has no fat and no cholesterol, and low sodium. It's a great source of calcium. And like all yogurt, the live cultures have a positive effect on your digestive system.
  • Oatmeal High fiber. Pretty decent protein content. No cholesterol. Low fat. Good source of iron. Whole grain. No sodium whatsoever. This is an excellent, excellent choice unless you need to avoid carbs for some reason. Most people will add some kind of sweetener, but it needn't spoil the nutritional value if you go easy. I recommend raisins and a tiny bit of sugar and cinnamon.
share|improve this answer
    
Care to elaborate a little bit on what makes these snacks healthy? Hopefully that will help others find alternatives with similar traits –  Ivo Flipse May 25 '11 at 12:06
    
Great edit @Joshua :D –  Ivo Flipse May 25 '11 at 14:57
    
Excellent answer. Bonus points for talking about Cholesterol and Sodium. Those are two things I have to watch out for. –  Core.B May 25 '11 at 19:04
1  
Regular trisuits have more sodium (180 mg) per 30g serving than your average potato chips (160 mg). If you're going to snack on Triscuits (which are tasty and whole grain), go for the "hint of salt" variety, which has only 50 mg of sodium per 28g serving. –  nhinkle May 27 '11 at 6:17
add comment

The real problem here is your diet at large, not the snacks. Joshua gives you some really good 'small meal' ideas that can substitute as snacks, but if you do not have an overall satisfying diet, you are going to continue to revert back to old habits. You are working for your diet right now. Your diet should instead work for you.

The first thing to note is that you don't necessarily have to count calories. If you are not actively attempting to eliminate fat or build muscle, I would go so far as to say counting calories is pointless overhead. As long as you don't notice your weight fluctuating under a new diet that's all you need.

Your small meal <-> large meal cycle sounds like you are attempting to limit yourself to meals that lack the nutrition your body requires to thrive. They might be too small, they might be the wrong foods, they might simply not have enough nutrients in them. I don't know for sure because I haven't seen your diet. However, here are a few things you can bear in mind when reviewing your diet.

  • Eating often is good - 5-6 smaller meals a day will keep your digestion going at a constant clip and keep you from getting too overhungry. Especially if you have a job that allows you enough flexibility to take a few 15 minute breaks to eat instead of a single 1 hour break, you may want to look into this.

  • Fat does not make you fat - Fat, cholesterol, and all the other traditionally 'evil' things are not what cause you to become overweight and unhealthy. The inability to handle these things is what causes this. This inability usually stems from eating way too much fast energy such as sugars and carbohydrates (which backs up your digestive processes), or habitual ingestion of things that mess up the digestive process, such as trans-fats, artificial sweeteners, and select preservatives. Use clean, easy-to-digest fats from things like chicken, pork, eggs, and dairy to keep you satisfied for longer after a meal. Fats will digest relatively slowly and provide longer-term 'fullness' and energy.

  • Balance in all meals - Meals are most satisfying when they have a large variety of nutrients in them. Your body likes to use a large array of nutrients, and when it's short on something it wants, it has a tendency to ask very loudly by inducing a food craving. If you are having simply a bowl of oatmeal for a meal, you cannot expect it to keep you satisfied for long. A bowl of oatmeal mixed with eggs and garnished with cinnamon and apple slices, however, will probably hold on nicely.

share|improve this answer
    
I greatly appreciate your answer that is more tailored to the root of the problem. The only reason that I did not accept this as the answer is that Joshua's answer met the food list type of answer that was asked in the question. You're absolutely right in everything you say, especially about the small meals with not enough nutrients in them. Thank you, I will be taking this advice to heart. –  Core.B May 26 '11 at 19:39
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.