If you’re the kind of person who likes to stay full between meals or needs a little extra fuel from time to time, then you may also find yourself snacking throughout the day.
While there are plenty of choices when it comes to snacks—from sweet to savory and creamy to crunchy—there are certainly some options that are better than others when it comes to how they impact your health.
For instance, a recent study by an international group of researchers which was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health has found that nuts and dried fruit can prevent abdominal fat as you get older.
During the study, 556 participants who were between 65 and 79 years old were expected to eat 30 grams of either nuts or dried fruit for at least three days each week. In the end, researchers noted that those who didn’t eat the recommended amount of suggested snacks had “a 19% higher prevalence of abdominal obesity,” according to EurekAlert!.
Related: Eating Habits to Lose Abdominal Fat As You Age, Say Dietitians
“It’s exciting to see that more research is highlighting how dietary fats and fruit can help people maintain a healthy weight, especially since people tend to shy away from these types of foods when they are trying to lose weight,” Gaby Vaca-Flores, RDN tells Eat This, Not That!.
“Nuts are high in calories and healthy unsaturated fats,” and “play a role in weight loss by helping you feel less hungry throughout the day,” Vaca-Flores explains, while noting that “some evidence also suggests that eating nuts can help increase the calories that are burned during rest.”
As for dried fruit, Vaca-Flores notes that it “packs a lot of fiber” which “is an important part of any weight loss routine because it helps you feel fuller faster which can leave less room for unhealthier foods.”
With benefits like those, you’re surely wondering how many nuts and what amount of dried fruit you should be eating as well as how often you can snack on these options. Vaca-Flores suggests one ounce of nuts or 28 grams, while “adults should consume at least one and a half to two cups of fruit each day. Eating a combination of dried and fresh fruit can help you meet this goal.”
Granted, you should also be aware of the fact that, as Vaca-Flores points out, “some nuts are sold with added salt for flavor. Eating foods that are high in salt can have negative effects on your heart and overall health.”
That’s why Vaca-Flores recommends reaching for plain, unsalted, and unflavored nuts.
At the same time, “some dried fruit is sold with added sugar which can set back your weight loss efforts. Additionally, dried fruit is usually smaller than fresh fruit, which can make it easy to overeat and accidentally add extra calories to your diet. I recommend portioning out your dried fruit separately instead of eating directly from the bag to prevent this from happening.”
To find out more about ideal mid-meal nibbles, be sure to read 50 Healthiest Snacks to Eat for Weight Loss.