Dietitian offers healthy snack options to achieve new year weight-loss goals

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Weight gain and emotional eating are downsides to the pandemic. The New Year has many thinking of ways to cut carbs, eat healthier and lose weight.

Ana Evans is a registered dietitian and nutrition program coordinator with New Hanover Regional Medical Center. She says any diet that encourages you to exclude any major food group is a fad and should be avoided.

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“I think its just really easy to want to jump into a quick fix especially this time of year,” but she warns, “any diet or plan that tells you to exclude a protein, a carb or fat probably isn’t sustainable.”

Evans recommends food choices with less ingredients, eating lots of fresh fruits or vegetables, and being realistic with one’s weight-loss plan.

“Be careful about jumping into those fad diets,” she said. “They can be really dangerous and not sustainable.”

She also offers alternatives for our sweet and salty cravings. Evans says its important not to deprive yourself too long because eventually you’re going to cave in and overindulge in the foods that aren’t good for you.

“You have to have alternatives for the Christmas cookies and chips,” she said.

Evans recommends keeping crunchy chick peas in your desk at work because they have protein and fiber and very little salt.

For sweet cravings, she recommends banana bites which are super simple to make. Its just a raw banana rolled in unsweetened cocoa powder and topped with coconut flakes. You can make a bunch and freeze them until you need a quick snack.

Evans also recommends keeping a food diary and being realistic with yourself.

“The more that we can identify our current habits, the more we can know what to focus on,” she said. “Taking two to three days to not make any changes but to just observe your current habits can help you to know where to start on your diet.”

Record the snacks and meals you consume daily to know exactly what you eat to help you track your total caloric intake.

Finally, Evans recommends planning and preparing meals in advance.

“If you have a little lunchbox, you can bring with you pre-bagged fresh fruit and vegetables, and high protein-low calorie snacks,” she said. “Being mindful and spending that time on the weekend to write things down and getting ready for the week can really help you be successful with weight loss.”