If you’re trying to lose weight, you’re probably taking a close look at your diet. You likely are cutting out fast food. You’ve learned to make healthy choices at the grocery store. And you’re probably doing a lot of reading (or video watching) to get the skinny on different diets and nutritional guidelines you can follow as you try to shed a few pounds and live a healthier lifestyle. (Just be sure to disregard the dieting tips no doctor would follow.) As you’ve done all this research, you’ve probably heard about fat-burning foods. And maybe you’ve wondered: Can these foods really help weight loss?
The answer is yes — and no. Let’s be clear. No foods can actually burn fat. As West Virginia University’s health center notes, some foods with caffeine can temporarily speed up your metabolism. (Your metabolism refers to the way your body uses energy.) However, foods themselves can’t cause weight loss, no matter how many great things you’ve heard about grapefruit, celery, or cabbage soup. But choosing the right foods can help you if you’re using other strategies to lose weight.
When you’re trying to shed a few pounds, you probably think carefully about what you’re eating at mealtimes. The foods you choose to snack on between meals are just as important. (Trying to stop snacking is a dieting strategy that just about no doctor or nutritionist would stand behind.) The key is to choose healthy snacks, like the ones ahead, that will help you burn fat and lose weight, not undermine all the hard work you’re doing at the gym or on your daily jog.
According to guidelines from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, healthy snacks for less-active adults should have about 200 calories. Snacks for teens and active adults can range from 200 to 300 calories. You should plan and portion your snacks ahead of time. That way, you’ll reach for something healthy when you’re hungry. Read on to check out some healthy snacks that will help you burn fat, build muscle, and feel healthier.
1. Apple and peanut butter
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers up a variety of suggestions for healthy snacks. (Although these foods might not technically burn fat on their own, they’ll definitely help your daily exercise regimen burn fat and build muscle.) One of the academy’s delicious suggestions is to eat an apple with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, almond butter, or sunflower seed butter. As Livestrong notes, it’s a great idea to choose a natural peanut butter (or other nut or seed butter) to avoid added sugar and hydrogenated vegetable oils.