Why do we snack?
We normally snack out of boredom, habit, or to fix a craving that we have.
Sugar, salt and fat all form cravings, especially when eaten in processed food as the food source is hidden. If we had a slab of butter or a bowl of sugar it's unlikely that we could eat the whole thing, however when combined with other foods our brain is duped into thinking it's not there. Food that has been processed tends to contain all three of these. Check your processed ham and the level of salt and sugar it contains!
When we have spikes in our sugar levels our body releases insulin to process the sugar. Unfortunately, this spike in isulin reacts slower than the sugar therefore we have insulin with no sugar left to process... This is where our cravings come from.
How do you avoid these cravings and unhealthy snacking?
- Eat natural, unprocessed foods. When you look at food think about how many processes it has taken to get that food to your plate.
- Replace sugary drinks and squash with water. Pop some sliced cucumber or fruit in a bottle of water overnight in your fridge and you are good to go the next day.
- Eat more lean protein... It's more satisfying gram for gram than carbohydrates and fats.
- Make a hot drink such as green tea, with no milk or sugar.
- Keep busy... the craving will pass.
- Cut out the sugar and the cravings will stop. Try 14 days of no processed sugar and your cravings should stop.
- Fruit is a sugar so limit yourself to two portions per day and try to only eat it in the morning. We're told that fruit is healthy, which is true to a certain extent as it's a natural food source, however just remember that bears will gorge themselves on berries before they hibernate as the sugar is stored as fats.
- Don't buy unhealthy snacks, not even for children. If it's not good for you then it's not good for a child. It's good to get children in the habit of eating healthily early on to avoid problems as they grow older.
- Avoid falling into the trap of thinking "one more cake won't hurt".
- If you feel you need advice on your eating and snacking habits, ask for help and take that control back.
If you feel you need a snack then try one of these foods from the list below, they're are more satisfying without the spikes in sugar.
10 Healthy Snacks
- A Boiled Egg
- Apple & Teaspoon of Peanut Butter
- 5 Brazil Nuts
- 12 Almonds
- Natural Yoghurt with a Sprinkling of Chopped Nuts
- Celery & Tablespoon of Cottage Cheese
- Handful of Mixed Seeds
- Carrot Sticks & Tablespoon of Hummus
- Homemade Salsa & Crudites
Hopefully by following these tips and advice you can curb and control your snacking.