When you’re losing weight, you try to eat the healthiest foods possible. You may even be eating some typical weight loss snacks. Yet, you might be completely abstaining from your favorite foods.
Though healthy, low-calorie options are great for losing weight, the truth is that you can still achieve weight loss without giving up your most-loved snacks. In fact, the best weight loss programs encourage you to keep eating your favorite foods—as long as you eat them in moderation or balance them out by consuming them alongside more nutritious foods. This way, you can make your weight loss journey more enjoyable.
Want to try this yourself? Here’s how you can healthify some popular snacks for weight loss.
Cookies: cut down on sugar content
Statista’s ‘America’s Favorite Snacks’ report ranks cookies as the top snacks, with 59% of Americans eating them regularly. However, the USDA FoodData Central finds that one homemade chocolate chip cookie provides 78 calories—mainly due to its sugar content. Typically, a cookie recipe will need 1 ½ cups of sugar, or over 1611 calories.
To healthify your favorite cookies, the Food Network’s 2021 post ‘10 Hacks Nutritionists Use for Healthier Cookies’ suggests replacing sugar with pureed prunes. This will keep the cookies’ texture while making them more nutritious since you use more natural sugars in your recipe.
Chips: cook your own
Chips are simple snacks that many people enjoy while watching their favorite shows or talking with friends. Unfortunately, Livestrong’s 2021 article ‘The Calories in Potato Chips’ reveals that a standard serving contains 149 calories. One of the biggest culprits is its high-fat content since it’s fried in oil.
To remedy this, you can make your own chips by thinly slicing potatoes and cooking them in an air fryer. This process cuts calories by 70-80% since it doesn’t need oil. After cooking, you can season your chips with salt and other spices of your choice.
Mac and cheese: switch to whole-grain pasta
Mac and cheese only have a few ingredients, making it a quick go-to snack and very easy to healthify. In fact, our instant pot pasta recipes post simply recommends using whole-grain instead of regular pasta. Whole grain pasta has a lower calorie content because it retains more fiber from the original grain. As such, SF Gate’s 2018 article “The Differences Between Whole Grain Pasta & Regular Pasta” notes that one cup will only contain 174 calories compared to 221 calories from regular pasta.
You might notice that whole grain pasta will have a slightly nutty flavor. The subtlety of the nuttiness means it’s not too strong so it can enhance rather than ruin your mac and cheese.
Pizza: add vegetables as toppings
Many people think pizza is unhealthy: it has lots of carbs from the dough and saturated fat from the cheese and salted meat. Still, you can make pizza more nutritious by adding vegetable toppings. These are excellent sources of fiber, so you’ll be full for longer and consume less pizza.
Some vegetables you can add are baby spinach, broccoli, and arugula. If you’re making a pizza from scratch, you can make a vegetable pizza using mushrooms instead of meat. In a recent post on ” 20 Tips You Need When Cooking With Mushrooms” it was found that oyster mushrooms make a great chicken replacement, while shiitake is best for substituting pork.
You don’t have to give up your favorite snacks during your weight loss journey. Instead, you can make them healthier by switching out some ingredients and watching your portions. If you enjoyed this article, read our other pieces here at The Instant Pot Table.