I have a quick question for you: How do you stop yourself from snacking out of boredom or settling for unhealthy foods?
Do you have any tips for staying on the right track when there just aren’t the right foods around?
There’s nothing wrong with snacking in between meals when it’s to curb hunger. But it’s important to distinguish between true hunger and appetite. Hunger is the body’s need for food whereas appetite is more about psychological desires for food.
When you start to feel the munchies, experts recommend rating your hunger on a 10 point scale wherein 1 is insatiably hungry and 10 is overly full. If you’re feeling a 4 or higher, you can probably satisfy your urge by drinking a glass of water with a bit of juice for flavor. If you’re feeling a 3, maybe a healthy snack will help hold you over until your next meal.
If snacking is in order, here are a few tips to help you make healthier choices.
- Be proactive. Being proactive starts at the grocery store; buy healthy snack foods like fruits, veggies and hummus. Stock up on peanut and other nut butters that are satisfying and delicious. If you’re going to a friend’s house, bring a snack with you. Just throw an apple into your backpack or purse. By being proactive, you won’t have to be reactive.
- Purge… your kitchen cabinets. While buying healthy foods is crucial, it’s equally important to rid your pantry of unhealthy options like cookies, ice cream and potato chips. Box up all your unopened and unhealthy snack foods and donate them to a local food bank. If it doesn’t nourish you, don’t give it space in your home or your life.
- Think about how the snack will make you feel. When selecting a snack, take a moment or two to consider how you’ll feel in another hour. Will you be glad you ate it? How will you feel in another day? By asking yourself these simple questions, you can use your inner guidance to make smarter choices.
- Use portions. Overeating is overeating, even when it involves healthy snack foods. To prevent overeating, always portion your snack out into a small bowl or small plate. When we use bigger plates, we tend to be more generous in our portions (as the quantity of food can look smaller in proportion). Moreover, when you eat directly from the box or bag, it’s impossible to monitor your portions.
- Find a new hobby. Snacking isn’t a hobby like collecting coins or folding origami. The purpose of snacking isn’t for passing the time; it’s to fuel your body with the nourishment it needs between meals. Instead of dealing with boredom by eating food, find another pastime. Go for a walk. Take a jog. Build something. Or just distract yourself in another way, like playing with a pet or reading the latest post on DaveyWaveyFitness.com.
I hope these tips help you better understand hunger and the role snacking can play in a healthy and active lifestyle.
P.S. If anyone else has any tips, feel free to share them in the comments below.