Written by: Amanda Changuris
Did you make a New Year’s resolution? Be honest — did it have to do with losing weight? How’s it going so far?
We all know the basics for following through on that promising moment (creating a plan with specific goals, rewarding yourself as your make progress, remaining flexible and committing to your resolution for the long haul) – and a recently-published study has some advice to help you win the battle of the bulge.
The study, published in the December  issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, followed 123 overweight to obese women between the ages of 50 and 75 for one year. Researchers were trying to discover a link between snacking and weight loss, and found that the women who snacked in the mid-morning (defined as between 10:30 and 11:29 a.m.) lost significantly less weight than women who snacked at other times of the day.
Over the year, the women participated in a diet-alone program or a diet plus exercise program. The mid-morning snackers lost about 7% of their total body weight, but the women who skipped the pre-lunch snack lost 11.5%.
Study author Dr. Anne McTiernan says the time of day might not be as important as the short time between breakfast and this mid-morning snack.
“If you start snacking in the morning, you might be eating more throughout the day and taking more food in,” McTiernan said.
It’s important to note that snacking can be part of your weight loss program – you just need to be smart about the timing and what you’re eating. McTiernan suggests trying to limit snacking to instances when you’re going five or more hours between meals (between lunch and dinner for example).
The American Heart Association offers the following sensible choices for your snacking needs:
- Carrot, green pepper and celery sticks
- Broccoli or cauliflower spears
- Unsalted rice cakes
- Unsalted sunflower seeds or nuts
- Low-fat or fat-free cheese
- Plain, low-fat, or fat-free yogurt
- Unsweetened canned fruit
- Fresh or frozen fruit
- Low-fat or fat-free unsweetened fruit yogurt
If you want something to drink with your snack, water is your best option. Other good choices include fat-free milk and unsweetened juices. If you want a hot drink, try black coffee or hot chocolate made with nonfat milk.