Spending a prolonged period at home is great for allowing you the time to start those DIY projects you’ve been putting off, cleaning out your home Marie Kondo style and of course spending more time with our beloved pets – I know mine are loving having extra attention during the day.
However, one side effect of staying in close proximity to the kitchen all day is SNACKING. With more of us working from home in light of the COVID-19 pandemic – Have you found yourself wondering to the kitchen in search of a tasty snack to munch on?
I have to admit, I am guilty myself of venturing aimlessly to the pantry, looking for a tasty treat. What I have noticed however is that most of the time I am not hungry, I am simply just bored.
Boredom accounts for a majority of our snacking habits. Snacking while bored temporarily raises our dopamine levels which provide you with a feel-good kickback. This is why it is easy to find yourself increasing your snacking habits – your body rewards you with a “feel good hormone “to break up the boredom so it’s only natural that you would want to replicate that reward process, over and over again.
However, it is not all bad – snacking (if done correctly) is a great way to make healthier choices as well as curb appetite and boost energy levels. This can definitely add up in the big picture, especially if you are trying to lose weight.
I have some expert tips and tricks to help you master your snacking habits, as well as keeping you feeling good!
1) Place all snacks on a plate 🍽
Placing snacks out of the package and onto a plate encourages you to look at the actual portion of food as well as the serve size you are consuming. Eating straight out of the bag or packet, especially when distracted with Netflix is a sure-fire way to quickly overindulge. Making sure you visualise your snacks is a great way to stay mindful of how much you’re eating.
2) Establish a snacking routine 🍿
Snacking by definition is something that keeps you going until your next meal. Getting into the habit of snacking around the same time each day helps to stabilise your routine as well as minimising the chances of overindulging.
Try to snack only when:
✔️ You’re truly hungry
✔️ You’re burning extra energy
✔️ Your next meal will be delayed
Snacking at night-time is not advisable, as it’s much easier for you to overindulge. Try to kick that habit completely, or if you must have a mini snack before bed, reach for healthier choices like cheese and crackers, banana with peanut or almond butter, eggs and whole-wheat toast. As always watch your portion sizes.
3) Engage your senses 👀
Did you know that it takes up to 20 minutes to feel full after a meal? Taking the time to appreciate how food tastes and smells helps to slow you down while eating. Indulging your sense as well as taking your time helps you to appreciate your snack just that little bit more.
4) Choose healthier foods first 🍉
Next time you open up your fridge and pantry – have a look at what food you immediately see?
We eat with our eyes, so we are going to go for the first option in our line of vision whether it be a good or a sometimes food choice. A simple way to make sure we are eating healthier foods, as well as not letting any foods go to waste like yogurt is to place these foods in our line of vision and within arm’s reach. Placing any sometimes foods like chocolate, potato chips and biscuits on a higher shelf out of your line of vision helps you to avoid overindulging and savour those foods as a treat.
5) Use snacks as an opportunity to increase fruit and veggie intake 🥕
Most of us fall short of our recommended fruit and veggie intake each day, however we exceed it in sodium, added sugars and saturated fats!
Use snacking as your chance to load up on essential vitamins and minerals found in fruits and vegetables like vitamin D, calcium and potassium. Plus, snacking on nutritious low GI options like wholegrain bread or oats can boost your fibre intake and keep you feeling satisfied and energetic between meals.
Yummy fruit and vegetable snacks include:
✔️ An apple with peanut butter
✔️ Celery and carrot sticks with hummus
✔️ Toasted tomato and cheese sandwich
✔️ Oats with berries
✔️ Greek yogurt with grapefruit
Whether savoury or sweet is your preferred go-to, these snacks provide you with double the benefit – delicious taste as well as nutrients needed for good health.