Snacking is Normal!
Snacking is a healthy way to control hunger levels between meals. If you feel hungry, it’s important to have a snack to provide you with the energy needed to get through to the next meal.
Having healthy, balanced snacks prepared and available can be a great way to ensure good nutrition and blood sugar balance between meals, along with helping to avoid that mid afternoon hangry fridge raid, often ending in getting your hands on anything available.
Working to find the balance between prioritising nutritious snacks and welcoming those foods you really fancy with no guilt or punishment is a positive approach to take.
Why am I snacking?
- Lack of satisfaction from meals
When we restrict certain foods or food groups, or do not prioritise healthy balanced meals, it can leave us feeling less satisfied and fulfilled from meals, and more likely to grab a snack quite shortly after we have eaten.
Working to take a balanced approach to our diet, welcome all food groups and enjoy healthy balanced meals can prevent that potential unnecessary snacking.
If you’re hungry between meals, it’s important to have a snack to keep you going.
However if you notice this often, it could be worth considering why it is you are hungry?
Are your meals balanced? Are you eating enough, and regularly enough?
Are you hungry, or are you just thirsty? When was the last time you had a drink?
Quite often when we think we are hungry, or in need of a snack, really we are just thirsty. Drinking lots of water could prevent some unnecessary overeating.
If you find it hard to drink water, try adding some fresh fruit – it will make such a difference to the taste! If you’re still feeling peckish afterwards – snack time!
There is evidence to suggest that the more tired we feel, the more likely we are to snack!
Lack of sleep causes an increase in our appetite hormone, ‘ghrelin’ and a decrease of our fullness hormone; ‘leptin’, together creating the potential to overeat. Alongside this, when we are feeling sleepy, we notice a difference to the type of foods we crave, usually opting for high energy foods, or sugar / caffeine to get us through the day.
A manageable bedtime routine, prioritising the wind down and trying to get into a healthy sleeping pattern will be beneficial if you feel like you’re a snoozy snacker.
- Habit / boredom
Snacking can be habitual, or we can find ourselves opening the fridge to ease boredom and just find something to do! Common times for this are when we get home from work or late on an evening when we have finished our daily to dos. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with this, however if we find ourselves snacking on less nutritious foods as a daily habit, it could become problematic. Consider working to break the habit, or ease the boredom by finding something else to do, unrelated to food which brings you a sense of joy / purpose. Ask yourself – is this hunger or a habit? Can I get out of the eating environment and do something else that I enjoy.
- Emotional eating
It’s common and completely normal to find our dietary choices and patterns change when we are feeling more emotional. Food is more than nutrients; it can bring joy, happiness and comfort. If you recognise you are emotional eating and you would like to make a change – consider asking yourself some questions which may help you to take a more mindful and conscious approach to your food choices, for example:
- Am I hungry?
- Am I thirsty?
- When and what did I last eat?
- When is my next meal?
- How do I feel?
- What could I do to work to improve the way I feel which may not involve food?
E.g. Chat to a friend or family member, read a book, take a bath, get outdoors.
Hope some of these ideas help.
Healthy snack ideas:
As above, snacking is not a bad thing; however opting for healthy, well balanced snacks can provide us with the fuel and energy needed to get through to our next meal, rather than finishing the snack feeling like we need more.
I like to think about snacks like mini meals – how can our snacks be well balanced; including protein, healthy fats and complex carbs? Prioritising these key macronutrients will leave us with a better chance of feeling satisfied until our next meal.
Having snacks which are easy to prepare, easy to transport and that are also easy on the purse strings are all important things to consider.
Some ideas for balanced snacks:
- Fruit and a handful of nuts
- Greek yogurt and berries
- Oat cakes / veg sticks and houmous or guacamole
- Oat cookies / protein balls
- Dark chocolate bark (with dried fruit and nuts)
- Wholegrain toast with peanut butter and banana
- Dates stuffed with nuts / nut butter
I hope some of these snack ideas help to satisfy potential cravings in the coming weeks.
Cravings are a message from your body – but they may not be a message of hunger. Of course, it is important to eat when you are hungry, to fuel and nourish your body with what it needs. However,
try to deconstruct these cravings if they are habitual – and think about what is best for you and your body both physically and mentally in the present moment.
Holistic Health Coach - Anna Whyte
The ‘Wellness with Anna’ philosophy focuses on taking a more balanced and holistic approach to health. Often, the tools needed to make a lasting change are already in your toolbox. I offer client led guidance in order to support the progress of an individual working to meet their personal wellness goals. I will not diagnose, treat or take responsibility for bringing about wellness change, but direct, listen and support development. We work together on a journey to make health a main priority, both physically and mentally.