Personally, I am not really a big fan of snacking, I find that most “snack” foods are very calorific and do not actually satisfy me, so for this reason I try and avoid snacking and aim for whole full meals instead.Whether you are trying to slim down or trying to make better choices in your day to day lifestyle, snacking can be the major downfall to your diet being successful.
Whether you are trying to slim down or trying to make better choices in your day to day lifestyle, snacking can be the major downfall to your diet being successful.
Having a “snack” in between meals is by no means a bad thing and can be planned into your day as a very effective way of keeping hunger away and to boost energy. The problem occurs however when people in fact don’t plan snacks and act out of hunger and their “snack” turns into a full on binge.
People tend not to snack on filling foods such as salad or vegetables and instead go for something such as chocolate, crisps or sweets. Normally things such as these are very high in fat and simple sugars, the problem with these types of foods is that they are not voluminous and therefore it is very easy to over eat due to hunger. The outcome of this is that what may have been intended to be a small snack ends up being an extremely calorific meal possibly more than the calories in an average lunch or dinner.
How to avoid snacking?
Choice of food
Your choice of foods will play a huge role in your willingness to snack. What I am referring to here is actually not the choice of snack foods, but the foods you choose to consume for your main meals. If you aim to consume more voluminous foods then not only are you less likely to feel hungry and the need to snack but also if you do snack on voluminous foods then you are less likely to cause damage to your diet.
This picture is a great example of the difference that volume can make and yes both do have the same calories. If you were to break the foods pictured on the right and split them into 3 or 4 meals you would most probably feel very full and not feel the need to snack. If you were to take the foods pictured on the left then you would almost certainly feel the need to snack in-between meals. As most of the foods on the left are sweet or salty the outcome is to crave more of these foods which can be seen to be very calorically dense.
By choosing more wholesome foods in your main meals you can actually reduce the potential to snack.
Now I am not saying you have to completely cut out these “snacky” foods however for a lot of people they struggle with portion control and cannot stop themselves from only having one, they then come up with a number of excuses and justifications to allow themselves to have another … and another. And you can see where this leads, back to the situation of overeating.
The best way to avoid this is to limit the availability of these foods, if they are not available to you then you cannot eat them. If you know you can’t eat just one or two Oreos then don’t buy them and keep them in your house. You are much less likely to have a craving for Oreos of they are not visible and available to you.
The problem can be for those people who work in an office where biscuits seem to multiply and are on a demand. This is where preparation can come in and if you have an alternative prepared then this can really save you. It doesn’t have to be a stick of celery but aim for something voluminous.
Popcorn is a great snack which can fill you up for relatively low calories. Metcalfe’s popcorn has saved me a number of times when I have been craving something sweet but don’t want to bust my diet.
Just the same as comfort eating is a thing, so is boredom eating.
You are more likely to snack when you are bored. The Sad fact is when we don’t have anything stimulating to do our mind wanders and it normally wanders to one of the two basic human instincts. Eating sugary foods releases endorphins into the brain which in turn makes us happy and content, the opposite to the feelings of boredom.
If you are busy you don’t need these feeling and you can even forget the feeling of genuine hunger as your brain is too focused on other things. If you have a productive day planned ahead of you I guarantee you will snack less.
Sometimes our need to snack comes from the feeling of hunger, however, this actually isn’t hunger but instead thirst. Consider if you have drunk enough in the day? Before you reach for the chocolate or crisps have a large glass of water and then wait 10 minutes, if you are still hungry after this then the chances are you do need to eat something. However, for most the water will satisfy the hunger signals by filling your stomach.
One final option is to use a stimulant such as coffee to blunt your appetite, not only will the hot liquid fill up your stomach but the caffeine kick you receive from the coffee will temporarily replace the need for energy from calories broken down by food. A coffee will also stimulate you eliminating the boredom aspect of hunger.
So next time you are reaching for your in-between meal snack, have a drink of water and a coffee, find something else to occupy yourself with and aim to make more voluminous food choices.
These are my ways of stopping snacking tarnishing my diet, this allows me to focus on making smart informed food choices which will drive me towards my goal and not reacting to hunger and grabbing some chocolate.