Here are my tips on how to snack smarter:
Munch mindfully: As you know by now, I am a huge advocate of mindful eating, and snacking is not an exception. It doesn’t have to be a painful process, but it does take a little bit of effort and awareness. Oh, and a positive attitude. Yep, that always helps. Be thoughtful when you’re snacking—put fruit or popcorn in a bowl and don’t eat standing up.
If you eat a piece of string cheese on the short walk from your fridge to the computer, chances are, your brain won’t actually register than you had something to eat. But unfortunately, it counts. Every handful, every nibble…it all counts, whether you took the time to actually taste and enjoy it or not. And think of it this way: Consuming 500 less calories a day for a week is a one-pound weight loss. Do you really want to use up those precious calories on bites that you hardly even remember?
Snack with a purpose: I ditched my 3 p.m. pretzel and Diet Coke habit when I finally realized that it did absolutely nothing positive for me. It either: a.) Left me hungry an hour later or b.) Wanting another snack right away. (That’s what processed food is designed to do.) Clearly, both scenarios led to one thing: Eating more.
Now, I only have an afternoon snack—usually an apple or Greek yogurt—if I’m actually hungry or need to get my energy up before heading to the gym after work. And ehhh, pretzels aren’t such a terrible choice, but they are void of any real nutritional value. I usually snack on foods that will benefit my body, and I save the indulgences for more exciting moments, like going out to eat with friends or treating myself to a cupcake on the weekend. Ask yourself: Are the three mini Reese’s Cups you just grabbed from your co-worker’s desk really worth it?
Stock your kitchen wisely: People tell me, “Ellen, you have so much willpower!” But friends, as I’ve told you before: Making healthy choices is much more about setting yourself up for success than it is resisting a cookie. I broke my nightly ice cream habit and tortilla chip + dip obsession by doing one thing—keeping them out of my kitchen.
I know that might sound sad, but trust me, once you get used to not having these comfort foods at your fingertips, you’ll hardly miss them! The only snacks I keep in my home are fruit, yogurt, veggies + hummus and stovetop popcorn. (Oh, and almond butter!) I go through dark chocolate phases, which is fine—I finally learned how to stop after one serving.
Snacking…I know it can be tricky, but it really doesn’t have to be. Always weigh the pros and cons before making your choices!
Tell me: Do you struggle with snacking? What are your favorite snack foods?
– ELLEN COLLIS
Ellen Collis is a blogger at Wannabe Health Nut and Health Coach in NYC, who graduated from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free health consultation to discuss how she can assist you with your nutrition and lifestyle goals. She would love nothing more than to help you have more energy, feel fabulous in your own skin and live a healthy life that doesn’t require giving up your favorite foods.