As someone with something of a perfunctory relationship with food, there are a few things about it which I know with an absolute certainty.
Cheetos taste good. Cookies taste good. Chips taste good. Add a little beer to wash these down and its a party, because beer tastes great too.
Alas, like everything else all good things must come in moderation, which can be challenging.
In the United States, snacks are kind of a big deal. Snacks, including calorie loaded beverages (i.e. lovely, lovely beer) make up more than 25% of our daily caloric intake on average. A full 70% of the snacks we eat as a nation are classified as ‘unhealthy’ (highly processed, nutrient poor/calorie rich).
If those numbers seem high never fear, you are correct. Because its usually done on the go, or minus the ritual/formality of a traditional meal snacking normally occurs with very little forethought. Consider: how often do you consciously think of what you eat when you’re snacking?
Do you reflect, and take a measured assessment of your hunger levels? How much time has passed since you last ate? When is your next meal? Does said snack fit in with your nutritional plan for the rest of the day?
Does, “I’m bored/stressed/tired/et cetera. – what can I eat?” sound more realistic?
Increased screen time (binge watching, video gaming, laptops. etc. ) along with decreased physical activity elevate the frequency of snacking even more. In general, sitting and watching something is more fun when you doing it with a bag of something salty/crunchy at your side, right?
As noted above, snacking is kind of a big deal. In some ways, its essential to our on-the-go, every-minute-counts 21st century lifestyle. If we are going to do it, we may as well make sure it will control our hunger, and provide enough energy to get through the hardest parts of the day, and not contribute to weight gain.
With that in mind, here are 4 Tips to Better Snacking:
1. Mindful Eating
– Something as simple as paying attention while you’re eating reduces overall food intake. Chew carefully. Savor the flavor. Think about how many handfuls of (your bite sized snack of choice here) you’ve already eaten. Try making a game of your munchible. “Can I make these 4 cookies last an entire episode of The Umbrella Academy?“
– Studies show that bigger package sizes encourage over eating regardless of people’s appetite or the taste of the snack. Limited serving sizes can curb overeating. Likewise, having a large variety of snacks available can encourage overindulgence. Chose your three favorites to have around and ditch the rest. In the end you’ll eat a little less.
3. Go healthy. Stay healthy.
– Shift those chips and cheetos into fruit and nuts. Seeds, whole grains and veggies can also blunt hunger’s edge and keep you fueled up between meals. This will help you avoid the crash from many common high sugar goodies.
4. Water can be a snack too
– The benefits of drinking water are well documented. On its own, or coupled with your between meal treat of choice, water can help you to feel full decreasing your overall intake. Try to drink half your bodyweight in ounces of water each day ( e.g. 180 lbs = 90oz ).