Did you know that when you are on a diet, if you eat something and no one sees you – it doesn’t contain any calories!
Are you a secret snacker? Do you eat when you are bored, upset, angry? Does every day mean a chocolate bar for you? Snacking…the secret sins of most people wanting to lose weight.
As a wellness mentor I find that people are often feeling so guilty about snacking they are embarrassed to talk about it openly. Women in particular laugh nervously when I ask them what happens to their food consumption around 4pm. This often is the time of the day when the “Snack Monster” rises up and takes control of them! Often these women berate themselves with ideas about being weak and out of control. They either eventually give up on their diet altogether or develop counter thoughts so they don’t feel so bad. “It didn’t really matter – it is fat free”. Or, “if no one notices, the calories don’t count”.
Your diet does not have to be like this.
You can lose weight without being hungry. You can learn to take control of the “Snack Monster” and your program can be one to set you up for success, not failure.
An important key is to learn how to recognize what your body requires, the signals it gives you, and learn how to respond to those signals appropriately – diet and guilt are two words that do not belong together.
Hunger is the body’s way of telling us we need to replenish depleted nutrients. Unfortunately our body can’t say “I need more vitamin D”. That would make things so easy! Many of us interpret hunger pains as our body saying “I need more fat”, “I need more sugar”.
The keys to healthy snacking are:
Know what foods to avoid, and
Planning – get yourself organized.
What is a healthy snack? One that contains little or no sugar, little or no salt (sodium), no white flour and no saturated fat. Check the food labels to see what is inside. Many foods are now labeled ‘fat free’ but are laden with sugars and will still cause an influx of calories. Do not assume that ‘fat free’ means healthy! Western societies are eating more and more fat free foods, and yet obesity levels are rising faster than ever.
Healthy snacks do not live in a vending machine.
Here are some healthy snack ideas.
- Raw vegetables, such as celery, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, green pepper, green beans, cucumbers, mushrooms or zucchini may be served with a lowfat dip.
- Fresh fruit in season.
- Lowfat quick breads and muffins, such as pumpkin, zucchini, banana or bran.
- Non-sugared cereals, snack mixes made with popcorn and whole grain cereal.
- Lowfat yogurt with fresh, frozen or canned fruit.
- Shakes with lowfat milk or yogurt and fruit.
- A few squirts of butter-flavored spray and a sprinkle of garlic or onion powder on popcorn
Organize yourself to stay on track.
- Plan to have a small snack mid morning and mid afternoon. It is much better to curb your hunger than to starve yourself.
- Plan your snacks as part of your overall daily food plan.
- Organize your week – especially if you work outside the home. Write a list of snacks for the entire week and make sure you shop ahead. Buy enough to last the whole week.
- Buy a variety of healthy snacks so you don’t get bored.
A report has shown that people who have a healthy intake of food in four of five episodes throughout the day are less prone to obesity than those who eat three or less times during the day.
Snacking CAN be good for you!