Do your kids keep on foraging for food and asking for snacks all the time now that they are home-schooled? Or maybe, since working from home, you are mindlessly reaching out for something to eat from the fridge or food cupboard? This is not unexpected and you are not on your own. Most of us are turning to snacks during the day for reasons other than actual hunger. Lack of routine, boredom, stress and loneliness all play a part. Snacking makes you feel good… at least for a short period of time! However, the reality is that constant grazing and making the wrong snack choices may wreck your physical and mental health – from feeling sluggish and tired, having energy slumps during the day and poor sleep at night to finding it hard to concentrate, having fluctuations in mood and, inevitably seeing your weight slowly creep up. In this article, we will explore how you can break your snacking habit and I will share with you some better snack options to make your diet instantly healthier.
Tips to break the snacking habit:
– It may sound obvious but if you are not hungry, do not eat. If you are tempted to snack, pause and ask yourself, ‘Am I really hungry?’
– Start your day with a decent, protein-based breakfast that keeps you feeling fuller for longer. Toast or cereals for breakfast are going to lead to a mid-morning energy dip that will leave you wanting to snack before lunch. Instead, have a protein-packed breakfast like porridge (or overnight oats) with berries and seeds, some kind of egg-based breakfast, or even a protein shake which all are better options.
– Make sleep a priority! You will almost certainly feel hungrier after a dreadful night’s sleep and then been forced to prop yourself up with coffee and snacks through the day.
– Avoid long gaps between meals. Having lunch at 1pm and dinner at 8pm is a long gap and in this case you can either shorten your gap between meals to 5 hours or squeeze a little something part-way through. Just make sure that you plan ahead and have a healthy snack to hand.
– Remember to keep your snacks small. They are not intended to be the size of an actual meal! If you are eating from a larger packet (e.g. nuts or popcorn), take out only a snack portion, transfer to a small container and put the rest of the bag back in the cupboard for another time.
Healthier snack ideas:
– 1 fruit (apple, pear or 2 plums) + a small handful of plain nuts and seeds
– 2 little gem leaves filled with cottage cheese + chopped cucumber, carrot, radish or pepper
– 2 oatcakes + hummus & some grated carrot or 2 oatcakes + cream cheese & cucumber slices or grapes or 2 oatcakes + unsweetened nut butter & a few slices of apple or pear.
– A handful of berries + plain natural or Greek yoghurt
– Hummus + veggie sticks
– Hard-boiled egg + spinach leaves or a handful of cherry tomatoes
Christelle is a Registered Nutritionist & Certified Health Coach. Visit www.keepcalmnutrition.co.uk
to find out more about her services and to book your complimentary health transformation call.