Crisps, nuts, chocolate, popcorn, candy, you name it we all crave it.
I am going to have a moment of honesty with you here. I grew up in a house where my mum was so good with our nutrition and built healthy habits that did not include snacking. A snack was a true treat and I was excited everytime I had one. She never made us feel bad for eating them, she just taught us they are not necessary or healthy and we better have a piece of fruit (which is also a snack, we will come to this in a minute). Therefore, I moved out with that mindset and kept it for many years. You would come over and I would have no snacks or I would just buy snacks for the occasion and never store them in my cupobard.
In the past 3 years, ever since I moved to Dubai, my snacking habits have gotten worse. I know love a snack and find it hard to resist and currently working on getting that old mindset back.
This is where healthy snacks come in. G and I love having some cucumbers, and carrots with some lemon juice and cumin sprinkled on them. You can also make healthy crisps at home (kale, mushroom, zucchini). Nuts are a great snack when consumed in small amounts and when you avoid the salted, smoked nuts.
Since this is something I am working on at the moment, I thought it would be helpful to share my top tips on how to stop snacking so much:
1. Just don't buy it.
You might be thinking DUH Sirine. For real? Yes for real. Out of sight out of mind. The first step to you cutting down on snacks is to not buy them. When they are in your home, even hiding away in a cupboard you will eventually want to have them. So to avoid situations of weakness where you reach out for them, just don't buy them. My rule is if you really really want them in the moment then you will find the motivation to go out and get them.
2. Try water first
Many times we confuse our thirst cues for hunger and reach out for food when all we need is a big glass of water. So drink that glass of water first, wait 15-20 minutes and if you are still hungry then reach for a healthy snack.
3. Go for a walk.
Not only am I asking you to not snack but to move instead? I must be insane. Hear me out for a minute. Sometimes all you need is to a distraction to quiet the voice in your head telling you to snack. So going for a walk might just be what you need to take your mind off it and get your step count up!
4. If you are still hungry, eat a bit more dinner.
If you are keeping healthy you are probably making some healthy and hearty meals. So when the craving hits, have a bit more dinner rather than empty calories from snacks.
5. Don't skimp on actual meals.
I am a sucker for 3 big meals a day. If these meals are well prepared, healthy and filling then you won't need snacks. So don't reduce the size of your 3 main meals because all that is going to do is to leave you hungry and wanting snacks. As long as your meals are healthy, it's much better to eat a bigger portion than reach for snacks later.
6. Sleep enough.
Sleep affects our weight and diet more than we know. Lack of sleep can have a real effect on your eating habits. When you lack sleep your body is going to look for other sources of energy to compensate for the lack of sleep and food is a great alternative. So make sure you are getting enough zzzz every night to avoid snacking as a side effect of tiredness.
Happy Healthy Living,