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Snack Attack

snack

What is behind your mindless munching?

Do you find that you are continuously reaching for something to snack on? Are there times when you find yourself eating and you hardly know how the food got into your mouth? If you answered yes to either of the above, maybe you too are a mindless muncher?

These days especially with all the ready prepreaped food/ snacks/ coffee shop drinks it is all too easy to over consume the calories without actually eating that much. And whilst snacks like nuts, seeds and bananas may not be the lightest in calories they do pack a mighty punch in nutrients that feed the mind and body inside and out, rather than the high calorie low nutrient snack that we often grab (where we are getting calories and little else).

So the question is ‘are snacks bad for us?’

The answer is ‘no’. Rather it is a question of which snacks and if we need them at that moment in time?

Why o why?

Firstly it is worth working out why we are reaching for a snack? Are we genuinely hungry? Or is it boredom, gluttony, low blood sugar, for comfort, tiredness or habit? If you are unsure of your reasons it is worth keeping a food diary (always a great idea for any weight loss or food overhaul), but this food diary has an extra two columns. One where you list out of 10 how hungry you are (1 being totally full, 10 being completely famished), and another rating how you are feeling emotionally. From there you can start to work on the cause for any unnecessary snacking and start changing you eating patterns with some help with the below strategies.

Boredom:

  • Try drinking some water
  • Sit down properly to eat
  • Try doing some exercise as you watch TV rather than reaching for the snacks


Gluttony

  • If you try all the suggestions listed for the other reasons and you just keep eating because you love eating than maybe it is time to speak to your GP or other professional organisation to get help with your eating.


Low blood sugar

  • Stick to eating food which is low GI/GL (GI = glycemic index which rates how food raises your blood sugar based on a 100g portion. GL does the same but based on an average portion).
  • Avoid processed food and sugary drinks
  • Eat a mix of slow release wholegrain carbs with protein
  • Go to your chemist for a free diabetes test
  • Try eating smaller meals throughout the day, rather than 3 large meals


For Comfort

  • Avoid high sugar and fat
  • Acknowledge how you feel after eating the food, then think how you would feel after making a healthy decision. Remind yourself on how you will feel after making a healthy decision next time you want to make a poor choice.
  • Remind yourself that your emotional needs will not be met by food, and instead tackle how you are feeling and what will really make you feel better, such as exercise or speaking to a friend.
  • If you are unable to deal with your emotional eating on your own, speak to GP or other professional.


Tiredness

  • Get more sleep – obvious I know.
  • If your lack of energy goes in cycles throughout the day, then look at the suggestions under low blood sugar.
  • Drink plenty of water


Habit

  • Before you reach for something, stop and check how hungry you are
  • Try drinking some water
  • Wait 20 minutes and see if you still feel the same
  • Keep snacks out of arm’s length reach
  • Establish some habits which are good for you

Time to tuck in

Once you have established that you are genuinely hungry and something is needed before you get to meal time, the question is then what to reach for rather than crisps, biscuits and sugary drink? Here are some suggestions to help your cravings – but be aware of portion size, just because it is a healthier option, it does not mean that the calories are low.

Savoury


  • Nuts (check portions size for nut variety)
  • Seeds
  • Plain popcorn
  • Celery with no added sugar peanut butter
  • Carrot batons with hummus
  • Boiled egg
  • Oatcakes with cottage cheese
  • Homemade oven cooked root vegetables

Sweet


  • Berries
  • Yoghurt / frozen yoghurt
  • Apple with peanut butter dip
  • Frozen bananas on a stick
  • Banana & egg pancakes (that is all ingredients!)
  • Stewed apple with toasted oats
  • Seeds with cacao flakes
  • Chocolaty treats (yes really), but where chocolate is changed to cacao and sugar to Algarve syrup or dates

Sugary Drinks


  • Hot – swap to herbal teas
  • Cold – swap to fresh fruit infused water (ie add a piece of lime to your water)

As part of personal training sessions, I ask people to keep a food diary and look at what will specifically work for an individual and their tastes and lifestyle. If you need personalised, help please get in touch for further information and how I can help; Rebecca@everybod.com / 07984159824.

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