If You Tend to Overeat Nuts, Chips, and Pretzels, This Easy Weight-Loss Hack Is For You
When I ditched sugar, flour, and fruit for three weeks (to see if it would help with bloating), my go-to snack became nuts. I buy them at Trader Joe's and keep mason jars full of raw almonds, pecans, cashews, and shelled pistachios in my pantry. I ended up gaining weight because I'd go back for handful after handful without measuring.
One day I measured a few handfuls, just to see how much it was, and realized I was eating a cup of nuts for a snack! For reference, a serving size of raw almonds is about 1/4 cup, which is 190 calories. Um, that's 760 calories, when a snack should be around 150 to 200 calories — and I was doing that every single day. No wonder I was gaining weight.
Yeah, I could have started measuring out servings from the jar and ate out of a little bowl, but it was too tempting to go back for more. Plus, that didn't work for times when I wasn't home. So I started using this little snack hack to keep my portions in check: I created DIY snack packs.
How I Started and Why It Worked
This became part of my Sunday meal prep, and it took less than five minutes to make a few snacks for the week. I'd put a variety of nuts on my counter like raw almonds, cashews, or sunflower seeds, get out my food scale and measuring cups and a few containers — it was kind of fun! Then I'd put the snacks in my pantry at eye level, so they'd be the first thing I'd see when I opened the cabinet door.
I found that it was much easier for my brain to register that I had had enough to snack on when I held the little baggie or container in my hand. I found I enjoyed the snack more instead of just mindlessly reaching for more. When I had eaten the last bite, I felt satisfied.
Why You Should Try It
This little hack isn't just for nuts! If you tend to overeat snacks like tortilla chips, pretzels, trail mix, or dried fruit, the calories can add up if you're not paying attention. If you're trying to lose weight, this little hack could be a tool to help you reach your goals.
6 Reasons to Make Your Own Snack Packs
- Prevents overeating. These snack packs make portion control easy, preventing you from mindlessly reaching into the box or bag for more. Measuring out servings gives you a better handle on what a portion size should actually look like.
- You get to choose the snacks. There's such a limited variety of the pre-packaged snacks available at the store, so this hack lets you choose what you like. Make small containers or baggies of raw almonds, pretzels, gluten-free crackers, or you can even portion out homemade snacks like protein balls, granola bars, or popcorn with nutritional yeast.
- You get to choose the portion size. You can measure by amount, such one-quarter cup or one ounce, or you can measure by calorie amount, making 100- or 150-calorie snack packs. In these containers, I used a food scale to measure out 24 grams of raw almonds and 26 grams of salted peanuts, which is about 150 calories.
- Saves money. Individually wrapped snacks cost more than buying in bulk, or even just buying one regular-sized package of the item.
- Good for the environment. I often use reusable containers to store my portions, but I also use plastic baggies and wash and re-use those. The snack packs you'd buy at the store waste so much packaging.
- They're easy. It's a cinch to measure out portions and add them to containers, but prepping snack packs also makes healthy snacking easy — just grab them and go!