Protein: Studies show that women are less likely to munch mindlessly when they include protein in meals and snacks. For reasons not entirely understood, protein makes your belly feel full longer, and research suggests you're less likely to crave treats when you're satisfied. We've designed the diet to give you extra protein in simple forms — like a hardcooked egg or nuts — throughout the day.
But first, a bit of definition: "Free foods," in my opinion, are those that have 25 calories or less per reasonable serving. "Almost free foods" have 25 to 60 calories per reasonable serving. Portion control is key here. While 2 cups of popped, 94% fat-free microwave popcorn may contain only 40 calories, if you eat the entire bag you'll end up with closer to 200 calories -- definitely not an "almost free" food situation.
For a sweet fix, try mixing mandarin oranges canned in their own juice with a couple tablespoons of light whipped topping. The oranges give a great hit of vitamin C and other antioxidants, and the light whipped topping gives the snack an indulgent feel (a feeling you often miss when you're watching what you eat). "This is a good substitute for ice cream when you're dieting," adds McLachlan.
Seriously, this is a thing, guys. “Avocados are a great source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, as well as fiber,” says Northbryhn. Cut prep time by picking up pre-made guac; some grocery stores also have breakfast hot bars where you can buy bacon slices, too. Just break two bacon slices into bite-sized pieces and dip into ¼ cup guac, she recommends.
Oh man, it’s already worth making baked pears just because of how great the kitchen smells when you shove them in the oven. They’re so easily prepared too: Slice a pear in half, scoop out the pit with a spoon. Now add a couple of walnuts, sprinkle cinnamon over them and drizzle maple syrup or honey (for non-vegans) on top. Off they go in the oven for about 25 minutes on 380°F/180°C.
What about evening snacking? The biggest problem with nighttime snacks is most of us reach for ice cream and chips-not fruit and yogurt. That's not to say you can't have a treat after dinner. Some of your favorite evening snacks may even be on this list (chocolate! popcorn!). One thing to note, if you're always hungry after dinner, make sure your meal is made up of filling and healthy foods and you're getting enough food. If all you're nibbling on is a lackluster salad you may legitimately be hungry and need an evening snack(see our best dinner foods for weight loss). If you love an evening snack after dinner, serve yourself a healthy portion onto a plate or bowl so you're not scooping straight from the container.