Snacking often gets a bad reputation as the sworn enemy of a healthy lifestyle. If you’re looking to turn mindless munchies into a healthy habit then snacking on the right foods it can be a great way to help you fight off hunger and reach your goals.
If you’re working from home a little more, you’ve probably found that it’s been pretty tempting to go for that afternoon sugary pick-me-up, right? I always say that a healthy lifestyle is all about eating well the majority of the time so there’s no harm in reaching for your favorite sugary snack ever once in a while.
Having said that, there’s little that will derail you faster than a half-empty pack of cookies or a mid-afternoon slice of buttery toast.
In this post, I’m going to cover four key ways to make sure you’re snacking the right way. Done right, snacking can be great fuel for your workouts and much better for your body than lots of empty calories.
Ready? Follow my tips, and start making the most of mindful snacking.
1. Stay hydrated
I get it, water won’t exactly satisfy the same cravings as a fresh-baked doughnut, but it is a really important factor in helping you steer clear of unhealthy snacks. Research has linked drinking water to decreased appetite and decreased calorie intake at mealtimes, especially in older adults.
If you find it difficult to drink lots of water, try adding a lemon or berries to your usual glass of water for a kick of added flavor.
2. Stick to a routine
Sticking to a set routine is so important when it comes to curbing unhealthy habits. Try to start your day on the right foot with a healthy and filling breakfast. Opt for a protein-rich breakfast like oatmeal or scrambled eggs on whole wheat toast. According to one study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating a protein-rich breakfast can alter the neural signals which make you hungry later in the day.
3. Slow down
Did you know that slowing down at mealtimes can help you stop snacking later on in the day? Research has shown that people who eat meals slower feel more full and less hungry one hour after eating.
It can take 20 minutes for your stomach to let your brain know it’s full so wait a little while before going back for that second helping or that sugary dessert.
4. Swap it out
If your kitchen’s full of unhealthy snacks, the chances are you’re going to eat them. The road to healthy snacking starts in the grocery store. Next time you’re doing your weekly shop, try to steer clear of the chip aisle and fill your basket with healthy alternatives to your usual favorite treats.
Try these easy swaps:
- Sweets and chocolate → fresh fruit and nuts – both are filled with fiber, and the latter will provide a filling protein fix.
- Cheesecake → low-fat cottage cheese. It’s packed with casein – a unique protein which keeps your muscles healthy and strong
- White breads, bagels and muffins → wholegrain varieties
- Chips → air-popped or lightly oil-popped popcorn. It’s one of the world’s most popular sources of dietary fiber and is full of healthy polyphenols.
Remember, if you are unsure of anything, want advice or just to share your progress I’m only an email away. You can get in touch with me at [email protected] and I will get back to you as soon as possible.