Lately I have been trying to come up with different ‘healthy’ snacks to eat both for myself and a friend whom I am helping to try and improve her lifestyle and eating habits.
When it comes to snacking, it can be lethal as we can forget or discount these towards our daily eating habits or calorie counting. Admittedly without any forward thinking it can be hard to come across a healthy snack especially at petrol stations or service stations and instead we are surrounded by chocolate, pastries, crisps etc and when we are hungry it can be even harder to forgo picking something like this up on during our day.
People can find it hard to be prepared, I suppose it’s like any new habit, it will take time to become part of your daily routine, but it is possible.
I now generally have a few snacks in the car and try to make sure there are some snacks in the house for when I am feeling nibbly.
Boredom and emotional eating are a big thing for a lot of us and so it can be about noticing any patterns or writing down how we are feeling and seeing if there are any links with when we reach for snacks.
If you notice yourself reaching for food when you aren’t actually hungry this is where it can be a good idea to try and distract yourself. This could be by doing something with your hands or doing some sit ups…whatever works for you.
If you decide you are hungry it can be worth having a glass of water first to see if that eases those hunger pangs. Sometimes I will have a hot drink, cup a soup or a milky drink too.
When it comes to wanting to satisfy that sweet tooth without reaching for that big bar of chocolate it is worth trying other snacks such as having a hot chocolate, a chocolate mousse, a square of dark chocolate or even a chocolate rice cake. By all means allow yourself that chocolate bar from time to time but it might be worth noting how many calories are in your go to chocolate bars as they can vary quite a lot.
I try to make sure I have rice cakes in the house, and these can be eaten as they are or they can be topped with pretty much anything from cream cheese, peanut butter, chocolate spread etc.
You could also try to have some nice fruit in the house…sometimes I like to have banana or apple with peanut butter which feels more like a treat and is more filling.
Having carrots, cucumber or celery in the house enables you to have crudites with hummus, dips or I sometimes have them with marmite.
Other ideas include yogurt, which is more filling with fruit, homemade popcorn, smoothies, boiled eggs, nuts and seeds, breadsticks which can be eaten as they are or dipped in chocolate spread, peanut butter, or savoury dips.
It’s worth experimenting and seeing what might work for you and you might be surprised. Especially if you make sure you have some healthier snacks to hand at home or on the go as it might just stop you reaching for that pastry when you go for a coffee.
I’m not suggesting anyone should cut out treats as that would just make us miserable but even making one small change can make a difference.
It might be that you try the 80/20 rule and eat healthier snacks 5 days a week and then have treats the other 2 days.
Sometimes it’s trial and error and seeing what works for you. Next time you go shopping it might be worth having a look at what’s available that would satisfy that craving you have without overindulging all the time. I’ve found that I appreciate treats more by not having them all the time.