This popular and delicious snack can eliminate belly fat, according to registered dietitians

By | March 17, 2024

Woman with measuring tape around her waist

When it comes to losing weight — especially belly fat, which can be the hardest to lose — many people focus on what not to eat. Raiding the pantry and throwing away all the ‘junk’, promising not to eat snacks during the day or in the evening, swearing off sugar… Can you imagine any of this?

Instead of focusing on what not to eat, registered dietitians encourage people trying to lose weight to adopt a different mindset, focusing on all the nutrient-dense foods that works in your favor. Guess what: that includes snacks! PSA: You don’t have to cut snacks out of your life if you want to get rid of belly fat. There’s even one snack in particular that registered dietitians say can help.

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Common dietary mistakes people make when trying to lose weight

Caroline Thomason, RD, CES, a registered dietitian based in Washington DC, says a common mistake she sees people trying to lose weight make is drastically cutting calories. “Most people think they need to keep their calories at 1,200 or lower to see weight loss results. While that may be true for some, most people cannot maintain an extreme calorie deficit for long,” she explains.

Thomason adds that following a low-calorie diet is a mental and physical challenge, and may not even be necessary for the majority of people. “If you’re more likely to give up within a few weeks out of exhaustion and frustration, this probably isn’t the right weight loss plan for you,” she says.

Kelsey Costa, MS, RDN,
a registered dietitian and nutrition consultant for the E-Health Project, says he sees this too. She shares that people trying to lose belly fat often focus on low-calorie processed foods, when it would be more effective to choose nutrient-dense options.

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Costa also says that many people trying to lose weight don’t get enough protein and fiber. “Numerous clinical studies have shown that protein intake above the recommended daily allowance can reduce total body weight and improve body composition by reducing fat mass and maintaining lean muscle mass in both calorie-restricted and normal-calorie diets,” she adds. She explains that a high-protein diet can aid weight loss by controlling appetite, preserving lean muscle mass during calorie restriction, and slightly increasing energy expenditure (burning more calories during digestion compared to carbohydrates and fat).

As for fiber, Costa says this nutrient is important (along with other essential vitamins and minerals) for keeping the gut microbiome healthy and reducing systemic inflammation. This, she explains, helps support efficient fat metabolism, making it easier to lose weight.

Thomason also says it’s crucial to prioritize protein and fiber. “These are two inherently satiating nutrients, meaning they keep you feeling full longer and can even prevent you from overeating later,” she explains.

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The best snack to lose belly fat

With all this in mind, what is the best snack to get rid of belly fat? Thomason recommends choosing a snack with a balance of protein and fiber-rich carbohydrates. “An example of a snack like this is a package of tuna or chicken and whole wheat crackers,” she says.

Thomason explains that the protein in the chicken or tuna helps you feel full faster than eating a low-protein, nutrient-dense snack, while the carbohydrates in the whole-grain crackers provide energy without causing a crash later, due to their fiber content. .

Would you prefer something sweet? Costa recommends grabbing a handful of berries. “Berries, including but not limited to strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, are true ‘superfoods,’ extremely rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, antioxidants and other beneficial plant compounds with anti-obesity and anti-inflammatory properties,” she says.

Remember how the dietitians emphasized prioritizing fiber? Berries are full of nutrients. “Dietary fiber, a key component found abundantly in berries, may play a crucial role in promoting weight loss and improving eating habits in adults battling overweight or obesity and following a calorie-restricted diet,” says Costa. She adds that fiber supports the digestive system and promotes a healthy gut microbiome, making weight loss easier.

It’s worth repeating that you don’t have to cut out snacks if you want to lose weight. The key is choosing a nutrient-dense snack that will work to your advantage. Now you have two snack ideas to keep in mind, depending on whether you’re craving something savory or sweet. Have fun snacking!

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