A quick look into snacking…
You’ve planned out a week of healthy breakfasts, lunches and dinners. You’re feeling great about the healthy changes you have made so far, and you are nailing this healthy eating plan… until 3pm hits and with it comes the attack of the snack cravings! You try your best to resist, you know you want to stick to your plan… but you eventually give up and tuck into a bag of chips, or whatever else is close by and yummy. Is that your healthy meal plan ruined? Of course not! There is no reason to feel ashamed of an afternoon snack, nor does it have to ruin the rest of your day of healthy eating. There’s a reason you reach for the bag of chips, and no it’s not just your ‘willpower’, and it’s likely a reason you can easily address and fix.
You don’t have to deprive yourself, or beat yourself up anymore over your snacking habits. Like everything else, just making small changes and creating new healthier habits is the path to long term success! Let’s take a look at the ways you can reduce your snack cravings, and have healthy options when you do need a snack between meals!
Look at your meals
Are you getting enough food in each meal? Especially if you have an active job or do a lot of exercise, you’re going to need to sustain yourself throughout the day, and if you find you’re really hungry in between meals, it may be that you are under-eating at meal times. It could also be the content of your meals – are you eating healthy wholefoods that leave you satisfied and full? Are you getting enough protein? Eat your meals slowly, give yourself time to feel if you are really full at the end of the meals.
Are you snacking out of boredom?
Do you often grab a snack while you’re distracted and eat it without much thought? How often do you just walk over to the fridge and open it, without even realising why you’re doing it, or stopping for that extra moment to notice if you’re actually hungry or just looking for something to do?
This is just another habit we have created over time! Being mindful is the key to breaking this habit. Even having a little note on the fridge that reminds you to just stop and take a moment to think before you eat! It’s not stopping you from eating when you’re hungry, just reminding you to pause and notice whether you are in fact hungry or not!
Mindful eating is a skill that takes practice, so be patient with yourself and take small steps towards being more mindful each time you eat.
Have healthy snack options available
They don’t necessarily need to be in your weekly meal plan, but they can be if that helps you! The key is making sure the snacks are nutritious, will satisfy your hunger and are easily accessible – eg. a fruit bowl on your kitchen bench.