Snacking The Right Way

snacking, junk food, pretzels
A snack or two between meals is not necessarily a bad thing, but the habit can prove tricky to someone trying to lose weight, especially when the snacks of choice contain little or no dietary fiber.

As the "Weight Off With The Early Show" series continued into week nine, we took a look at how not to sabotage weight-loss success with between-meal snacking.

For years, former Amazing Race participant Kevin O'Connor of Bayonne, N.J., drank 1,500 calories a day in soda alone. If you think about it, six 20-ounce sodas daily equals about 1,500 calories of plain sugar. And, with very little exercise, Kevin was storing much of that sugar as fat.

Kevin has since changed his soda habit to six 20-ounce Diet Pepsi Twists a day. So he's taking in zero calories and no sugar because his soda of choice has a sugar substitute. Yet, he's still falling short because his soda habit does nothing to satisfy any between-meal hunger he may have.

Kevin says before the Weight Off program, if he was hungry between meals, he would snack on: candy bars, Fig Newtons (his favorite are raspberry); Sun Chips and large Pennsylvania Dutch hard pretzels.

Now he's begun to adapt the habit of eating protein bars that are higher in protein than they are in carbohydrates (also low in sugar). This is a good plan because high protein bars stay with the body longer, so Kevin feels fuller longer and is likely to crave less food. Kevin has lost a total of 10 pounds and says people have begun to notice.

As protein bars go, participants in the Weight Off program have been told to look for bars that ideally have:

  • 150 calories a serving
  • 12-15 grams of protein
  • 12-15 grams of carbohydrates
  • No more than 5 grams of fat
  • Some fiber
  • Yet, as with most things, variety is what keeps a person from getting bored, and after a while Kevin will probably find that he needs to spice his snack habit up.