Is there really such a thing as smart snacking? Yes indeed! We have to get over our hangups about food and the word “snack” because it has gotten some very negative connotations. It almost seems to imply that if you snack, you are overweight because you can’t keep yourself from eating.
For some people, that could be true, but generally snacking can be a very healthy way to approach your relationship with food. As long as you understand how to “snack smart” you’ll find it to be helpful with your efforts at weight loss.
Snack when you are truly hungry. Not because your diet plan says you should snack. Every person is different, so to think that a single published diet plan will work well for everyone in your office, you’re mistaken. Certain meals digest more quickly than others and if you are genuinely hungry and your next meal is some time in the future, having a snack is not only smart, but everyone around you will be grateful. When our blood sugar drops, we often become agitated, irritable, and downright grumpy. But remember that a snack is exactly that, it shouldn’t replace a meal, so keep your snack small.
Avoid mindless snacking. Some people think that grazing is just snacking all day. Not so. Snacking is eating a small serving of something in between your regular meals. Grazing takes all the food you would normally eat in your three regular meals a day and eat just that throughout the day. Grazing is a different approach to eating. However, neither method is ideal because our bodies are designed to basically fast between meals.
Mindless snacking includes eating when you are emotionally charged. You’re bored, you open the refrigerator. You’re mad, you tear into a bag of chips. You’re upset, the ice cream in the freezer is sure to make you feel better. These emotional responses to food have absolutely nothing to do with feeding our bodies the nutrition they need and everything to do with responding emotionally by turning to food.
Before you ever put a snack into your mouth, take a mind/body scan and ask yourself why you’re eating that snack. A mindful approach to snacks can help you to see that perhaps a quick walk around the building might be a better way to blow off steam than eating a bag of high-fat, high-sodium, high-carb chips. Start to notice what triggers your need to snack and eat the snack only if you are truly hungry. If the issue is something other than hunger, take a moment to figure that out.
By noticing true hunger, having healthy snacks available, and being mindful about your eating habits, you, too can snack smart.