There are so many questions around what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ when it comes to snacking. How often should you snack? What should you snack on? Will snacking boost your metabolism? Which snacks will give you the most energy? … And the list goes on! We believe that there are definitely some smarter ways of going about snacking and some rules of thumb we use when choosing what, when and why to snack. Here are our top 6 rules for smart snacking:
1. Avoid Grazing
Grazing and snacking are not the same. Grazing means splitting up your main meals into smaller servings that you pick away at throughout the day i.e. eating small amounts at frequent intervals. Snacking on the other hand is having several snacks in addition to your wholesome breakfast, lunch and dinner. Snacking is preferable over grazing as you should allow your stomach time to empty from the previous meal before eating again. A snack will hold you over until the next meal and provide your body with a hit of nutrients and energy.
2. Don’t snack when you’re bored, sad or mad…
Emotional snacking may help calm you down, distract you from whats going on or even numb you from experiencing your emotions in the current moment… Unfortunately not a great solution for boredom or negative feelings. Here is where you can practice self-compassion to avoid the type of snacking that ends with regret. Acknowledge how you feel, accept these feelings and deal with them in a way that will continue to nourish your mind and body. Try to avoid grabbing for that oh-so-tempting but not-so-nourishing comfort food.
3. Snack when your hunger is real…
Snacking should really only be to hold you over between meals and should just be a small bite. Your stomach takes around 3-4 hours to empty so if your next meal is further away than this, munch on a snack. If you leave your snacking a little too late and are starving by the time you get round to it, watch that you don’t over-eat by grabbing at everything edible in sight. You don’t want your snack to turn into brunch or an early dinner!
4. Snack Mindfully
Sometimes our habits get in the way of making healthy changes to our dietary intake. Bringing mindfulness to your habits and noticing what triggers them is a good start. For example, when the clock hits 4pm, do you head straight to the office kitchen for your daily ‘afternoon treat’? In this case the time of day is the trigger and you react by seeking a snack without considering whether you’re actually hungry or not. While you start practicing mindfulness in these cases, have a glass of water before reaching for your 4pm snack and see if this fills the gap. Often dehydration may feel like hunger.
5. Plan Ahead
Don’t expect to find nutritious food and snacks on the road as this is often impossible. Pack your healthy bites in your work bag, on your road trips or even if you’re heading out to the movies and the like. Little re-usable containers and jars do the trick for keeping your snacks secure and will mean you have a proper, nourishing snack or mini-meal when that hunger sets in.
6. Food First!
Eating wholefoods in their most natural state is the only way with snacking. Think fruit, nuts, seeds, nut butters, soup, vege sticks, hummus, bliss balls and so on. The Blue Dinosaur Paleo Bars make the perfect wholefood snack to munch on anytime, anywhere, with the added bonus of being gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free. They are made with five simple, wholefood ingredients in each bar and make a highly nutritious snack.
The Blue Dinosaur Lamington Paleo Bar featured in the March Delight Box and is the ultimate delicious and nutritious snack on-the-go. With the added bonus that this flavour tastes just like your classic lamington! You can find out more about Blue Dinosaur and their product range here. What are your favourite snacks to see you through until your next meal? Let us know in the comments below xo