By: Judy Davie - The Food Coach
Have you ever considered how you would define a snack? For some, it's a small meal consumed between the main meals, others define it as something lacking in nutritional goodness, while others consider it as food eaten-on-the-go. However you define a snack there's no disputing that it adds energy - or kilojoules to your total energy intake.
The other day I was chatting on the phone to a client who is keen to lose weight. Day to day her main meals are pretty good however it's snacking which lets her down.
When I coach people these days I'm careful to ensure people don't develop dietary obsessions. To my way of thinking a healthy diet must be, enjoyable and sustainable, in other words a way of eating to be maintain forever.
With that in mind, rather than shout "STOP SNACKING" I tried to encourage my client to snack better. First and foremost I encouraged her not to "snack from a pack".
If you are a snacker then this article may be useful.
Let's agree that the definition of snacking is this:
A small meal, containing useful nutrients with significantly less energy (kJ's) than a main meal, eaten between main two meals.
And the purpose of snacking is:
To provide sufficient energy to tide you through to the next main meal without becoming over-hungry.
To provide pleasure
Now we know the what and why, let's set some rules around snacking
Rule No 1
Ensure the snacks have some nutritional goodness.
Fresh fruit, raw veggies with hummus, raw nuts, cheese, fruit muffins with chia seeds for additional fibre, baby bocconcini with olives and cherry tomatoes, oatcakes with honey and cheese are all good examples of snack foods which provide some amounts of nutritional goodness.
Rule No 2
Don't snack from a pack
Snacking from a packet is easy and convenient. By making the rule not to snack from a packet you will only snack when you really need and want to eat something. Too many people eat only because it's easy.
Rule No 3
Eat sitting down and eat mindfully
Snacks are often the meals that no one remembers they've eaten when they're on the run. That one little choc chip sweet treat can easily turn a choc chip deluge when you're tending to everyone else's needs mindlessly stuffing one after the other down your throat.
Sit down to eat or don't eat at all.
Rule No 4
Make me time, tea time.
When the evening meal is all cleared away, the kids are sleeping and husband (or wife) has gone to bed, there's finally time for time alone. Unless it's a main meal, don't eat alone. Instead enjoy a cup of relaxing herbal tea, listen to calming music, switch off the TV and enjoy the peace.
Rule No 5
You don't have to snack
For some people it's a habit they've fallen into where every afternoon they think they have to eat. If you're not hungry don't eat. Go for a walk, bring in the washing, have a cup of tea, phone a friend, sew a button on something that's been missing one for months. Do something other than eat for enough days to break the cycle of unnecessary eating.
If you've found this better snacking article useful, feel free to share it, or add some of your own tips below.
For those interested in learning about coaching for better health please email [email protected]
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