We currently live in a time with many sorts of food and snack options to choose from. And behind those bunch of limitless choices are people in dilemma, having one common denominator — the desire to lose weight.
I bet, majority of us don’t even love the idea of dieting at all.
Little did we know that we can actually open our doors to healthy snack options.
“Won’t they cause me extra weight?”
I can read your mind! The only way to make your eating habits gratifying without compromising your health, is going for the most nutritious snack options during your eating window.
Always make sure not to sacrifice the right balance of nutrition that your body needs, for the intention of losing weight alone.
The sooner you realize that going for a healthy eating habit would benefit not only your figure but your overall health and well-being, the better!
Surely, you’ll never look at healthy eating again as an unenjoyable thing — but a huge favor you’ve done for yourself!
One great way I discovered to effectively lose weight while paying respect to my nutritional needs is through “intermittent fasting” (IF).
Having an “eating window” (the time you are allowed to eat) of 6-8 hours every day is my go-to schedule. Further down, you’ll bump into our article about IF to help you know what would work best at your own pace — especially if you’re a beginner!
As for me, I usually only have two meals a day during this window. I make sure to fill my plate with nutritious food containing good fats, to avoid hunger pangs between meals. The cookie jar is not an option for me in order to keep my insulin low. To handle cravings, I sometimes take small healthy snacks in between meals. There are also days when I skip the first meal and opt for a light snack instead.
There are healthy snacks and recipes you can enjoy during your eating window. The food and snack options you go for should not only fill you up, but actually keep you full longer. That’s how you turn the magic on behind intermittent fasting.
But before anything else, let’s find out what benefits you can reap from intermittent fasting (IF)!
Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
When you don’t consume any food for a set period of time each day, you are doing wonders for your brain and body. Here are the proven benefits of intermittent fasting:
Sheds off the extra weight: The entire idea of IF is to allow your insulin levels to stay low for a longer period. As you fast, it causes an immune response that boosts metabolism! This response then leads to reduction in triglycerides (fatty acids), cholesterol, blood pressure, blood glucose levels AND make our fat cells release stored sugar. This stored energy will in turn help decrease fat mass and weight!
Lowers the risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes: When you practice a pattern of constant eating, it barely allows your insulin levels to regulate. While the pattern of IF allows insulin levels to healthily equalize! It stores any excess sugar and allows the pancreas to rest between periods of eating. Also, the accumulation of fat in the pancreas plays a decisive role in the development of type 2 diabetes. This is supported by a 2018 study that proved fasting to be as equally effective as the traditional calorie reduction method, to help inhibit the progression of Type 2 diabetes!
Boosts heart health by reducing blood pressure and bad cholesterol: Reduced resting heart rate and blood pressure were among the top indicators of health improvement, in a 2016 study done about IF! Another indicator found was an increased heart rate variability, as a result of increased parasympathetic tone!
Reduces oxidative stress and inflammation: A study done in 2006 found that oxidative stress and inflammation declined in response to IF. A separate study done in 2007 also demonstrated that prolonged IF had positive effects on the inflammatory status of the body!
Makes cells stronger by promoting cellular repair and autophagy: In 2010, a study observed that a brief period of food restriction can induce a widespread increase in our neurons’ natural mechanism. This happens when unnecessary or dysfunctional components in our cells are naturally removed during autophagy! This mechanism is particularly important for maintaining cellular balance in our body. And the best part? It works almost as a rejuvenation!
Helps prevent cancer: Studies conducted in 2012 suggest that multiple cycles of fasting could potentially replace or support the effectiveness of certain chemotherapy drugs, to treat breast and ovarian cancer. IF was also proved to lessen fatigue during chemotherapy without any adverse effects!
Protects against Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases: A study done in 2009 proved that IF can prolong the health-span of the nervous system. IF is essential for the brain to clean itself up and drive new neurons or communication lines, for optimal function. With this, fasting improves brain function as there is less clutter blocking the healthy neurological function of the brain!
Improves memory and brain function: IF can positively affect the growth and development of our nervous tissue. IF can reduce brain inflammation, improve cognition (learning and memory) and protect the nerve cells from dysfunction and degeneration!
Gives you a good night’s sleep: A study in 2016 claimed that IF can help regulate your daily hormone fluctuations to better optimize sleep. IF has also been shown to promote balance between rapid and non-rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. The timing and the duration of fasting can influence how it affects your sleep quality. It has been found that IF reduced sudden awakenings at night and decreased leg movements — which can be highly disruptive to a peaceful sleep!
Helps extend your lifespan: Centenarians in certain regions and cultures eat large breakfasts and smaller dinners. This might not sound like IF, but it’s very similar! This led an expert studying the longest-living people on the planet, into a conclusion — many centenarians have one thing in common. And that’s the natural tendency towards intermittent fasting. As IF may help reduce the risk of certain chronic and age-related diseases, it can thereby potentially help with longevity!
If you want to learn more about IF and some tips on how to get started, check out our article;
Snacking Between Meals: Should I be doing it?
If you want to reap the full benefits of intermittent fasting, you should be committed with your “fasting window” and “eating window”. It is also better to shorten your eating window and lengthen your fasting window!
If you find yourself craving a snack between meals, go for good fats and fiber-rich snacks. Healthy fats will keep your insulin levels at bay, give you long-lasting energy and make you full longer. Fiber also has the same effects. Studies show that consuming soluble fiber slows down the movement of food through your digestive tract. This leads to reduced hunger and increased feelings of fullness. Although many fiber-rich foods contain carbs, they won’t spike your insulin. In fact, eating fiber triggers your digestive tract to release a certain chemical that could lower your insulin level.
Dr. Berg gives you some ideas in this video, about what you can consume during your eating window and how these foods can benefit you. [2:23]
13 Best Snacks to Eat Between Meals When Doing IF
The Keto-Green way of eating is the perfect match to intermittent fasting! I personally do healthy, green Keto and I’ve noticed that my hunger and my sweet cravings have reduced. Here are some Keto-friendly snacks you may want to try:
Non-caloric liquids – like water, coffee and tea. These beverages are not exactly snack items and you can have them any time of the day, even during your fasting window. However, it’s important that you don’t add cream, cow’s milk or sugar to your drinks. Otherwise, you may get the insulin spike you’re trying to avoid.
Low-caloric beverages – like bone broth and miso soup. Bone broth makes a tasty snack option if you crave something warm and light. It’s an excellent source of minerals and is known to improve digestion, immunity and bone health. You can make broth by boiling bones of animals (like chicken, beef or fish) with vegetables, herbs and spices.
Check out Wellness Mama for her chicken bone broth recipe. If you love the taste of beef, Keto Culinary shows a video on how to prepare broth using grass-fed organic beef bones. [4:04]
For an authentic homemade miso soup recipe, here’s a video from Taste of Asian Food. [6:14]
Munch on crunchy veggies – like green beans, celery, cucumber and green bell pepper. Pairing fresh or lightly cooked vegetables with a homemade dip is one of the simplest, nutrient-rich snacks you can make.
The Healthy Eating Hub has a quick recipe featuring avocado dip with mixed vegetable sticks. Check it out!
Craving for fried foods minus the bad fat? You can never go wrong with vegetable fries or chips. Choose veggies that grow above the ground, like squash, eggplant, zucchini and asparagus. They have low-carb content and won’t negatively affect your insulin. Try deep frying them in extra virgin oil and then toss in some herbs and spices for a flavorful taste.
Here’s a video from Foodies of South Africa showing the different ways to make veggie fries. [1:25]
Dips and Sauces – Enjoy fresh or cooked veggies even more by dipping them in homemade sauces. Go for hummus! This creamy dip is packed with healthy fats, nutrients and fiber.
Dr. Berg shares the 6 main ingredients of hummus and what each food item can do for your body. [3:18]
For quick DIY plant-based dips and appetizers, check out Pick Up Limes recipes. [7:16]
Simply Quinoa shows 3 nutritious creamy dip recipes perfect for holidays and parties. [9:51]
Eggs – Loaded with protein, healthy fats and vitamins, eggs are perfect snack items that can easily fill you up. Since they are so versatile, you can prepare a bunch of snacks out of eggs. Fat for Weight Loss gives us 10 creative ideas using eggs, such as egg wraps, egg rolls and capsicum ring eggs. [5:41]
For a more satisfying snack, Keto Connect shares two egg salad recipes that are sure to fuel you up. [6:11]
Avocados – Rich with good fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals and anti-inflammatory properties, avocados are the best go-to snacks! You can eat the fruit as it is, use it as a dip or turn it into a salad. You can even make an ice cream out of it.
Try these 20 amazing avocado recipes you can enjoy in a Keto diet. From chocolate pudding to flourless brownies and creamy pasta, Forkly’s avocado recipes will certainly satisfy your cravings in a healthy way.
Nibble on nuts and seeds – These snacking all-stars contain a good dose of vitamins, minerals, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. They can improve digestion, immunity, energy levels and brain and heart health. But enjoy them in moderation, otherwise the calories can add up!
Nuts and seeds are excellent hunger-busters because you can bring them anywhere and mix with almost everything. But always choose raw nuts or seeds if possible. If you can’t find any, pick roasted nuts but avoid sweetened or honey-roasted varieties. Go for low-carb, high-fat nuts like macadamia, pecans and Brazil nuts. Other healthy nut and seed options are:
- Pine nuts
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Sesame seeds
Here’s Dr. Berg again, giving some information about nuts and seeds and their health benefits. [2:46]
For a unique way of enjoying seeds, try chia seed pudding! It is an easy way to crush your sugar cravings while keeping you full. TPH Keto Desserts teaches us how to create a chia seed pudding that is sure to satisfy our sweet tooth! [5:05]
Nut Butter – Nut butters, like almond and peanut, are great treats for curbing hunger while keeping your energy levels up. When shopping for nut butters, always read the labels. Make sure there is no sugar or other preservatives added, except for sea salt and peanuts. Pick butters made from organic peanuts, if possible.
If you want a delicious way to add more fats in your diet, try Keto Connect homemade almond butter. [10:26]