I have always struggled with the habit of snacking in between meals. I crave for something to chew on, or bite on. It is almost like a borderline addiction for the need to be eating something in between each meals. It could be a slice of bread, a handful of nuts, or just a cup of coffee, as long as there is something entering my stomach, I feel that I desperately need it. I can’t seem to get around it, I have tried to keep myself busy, but ultimately, I will succumb to the temptation of snacking in between meals!

For those that set a target to lose weight or to keep weight off consistently, the habit of snacking can be a detrimental blow towards your weight loss goals! In my opinion, like some smokers too, you can attempt to quit the snacking (or smoking habit) cold turkey. But does this method work over the long run? Are you able to sustain without snacking for weeks, months, or even years? And most importantly, is quitting the habit of snacking the best option for your health?

According to dietitians , it may be wrong to ignore your hunger urge between meals, especially if you are genuinely feeling hungry. There is a distinct difference over here, one is that you just FEEL and think you are hungry; and second is that when your stomach is rumbling and churning and truly yearning for some food intake. Here are a few tips that may allow you to keep the snacking habit at bay and if you really do need to snack, you will know what to watch for, read on!

Tips:

Drink an 8 ounce glass of water: Do I need to emphasize the importance of water on our body?! Here are 8 benefits of drinking plenty of water (1):

  1. Increases your energy levels and fights off fatigue: Drinking water helps boost brain energy and keeps you more alert at all times
  2. Aids in weight loss: Water increases the feeling of ‘fullness’ (especially after a meal), it serves as an appetite suppressant and also aids in removing the by-products of fat.
  3. Helps remove toxins from your body: It helps with the process of getting rid of toxins through sweat and urination. Therefore, it also helps prevent kidney stones and those nasty UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections).
  4. Boosts the immune system: Having plenty of water helps fight off flu and many other ailments! If you noticed, those around you who have the habit of drinking plenty of water throughout the day are less likely to become sick!
  5. Helps with regularity: This means that it helps prevents constipation and maintains a healthy gut health!
  6. Improves skin complexion: Water aids in keeping your skin moisturized, smooth, and provides that healthy glow! It also serves as an anti-aging and anti-wrinkle regimen!
  7. Solves a headache: Drinking plenty of water helps ward-off a headache (migraine & back pains as well!), because it keeps you from becoming dehydrated.
  8. F.O.C: This is the best Free Of Charge healthy beverage you could get!

Snack Right:

The snacks that you choose should not be anything excessively sweet or deep fried. Your best bet for a great snack is to have one that strikes a good balance between protein and complex carbohydrates; you could also go for food that contains a good mixture of healthy fats, fiber, and a good dose of protein. These would include snacking on a hard-boiled egg, a piece of fruit like an apple,guava, or papaya. One of your best options is to pack you own snacks, you may weigh out a small amount of mixed nuts or bring slices of apple or guava along to work or whatever activity you embark on throughout the day!

Stay away from “Processed Carbs”, these would include your potato chips or bread. Such type of food will cause your blood sugar to shoot up and could further increase your appetite for more. The first thing you end up reaching for might be those chips and savory bread that you had in the first place! The same can be said about food high in sugar, such as cookies, cakes, and sweets. These type of food will keep your brain’s thalamus, hypothalamus, and insula active, and will tell you that you are not full yet!

Search for snacks that you can “Chew-on” for a while, this may be an odd reason to you; But chewing can actually decrease the amount of ‘Ghrelin’ (hunger hormone) secreted within our body. Hence, stay away from those slurp-able fruit shakes and those mini-sized yogurts. These are mostly packed with sugar and flavorings, some even contain artificial sweeteners. On the topic of artificial sweeteners and artificially sweetened food items, there is a tendency for artificial sweeteners to light up your brain’s reward center and in turn, tell your gut to expect some calories intake. This keeps your body with an anticipation of food and may make you feeling hungry when you are really not!

Keep the calories low:

Ideally, you will want to keep your snacks to a caloric intake of 200 or less. Otherwise, there is a high tendency that snacking may turn into something that is equivalent to a mini-meal. The other thing to note is to listen to your body, if you are feeling full before you finished your snack. Make sure you stop and leave the rest for later if you do get hungry again!

Most importantly, only snack when you truly feel hungry (e.g. your stomach is rumbling). Try to avoid the urge of snacking because your colleagues are doing the same thing or because it is that magical time that you had snacks each day. Remember that each day is different because your food intake during breakfast, lunch, and dinner varies! Only eat when you truly are hungry!

If you have any comments or queries about the topics discussed above, feel free to leave a comment below. Alternatively, you may reach out to me at merrell@sustainableweightlosshabits.com

Speak soon!

 

Source:
  1. Abby Phon (March 20, 2012). 10 Reasons Why You Should Drink More Water. Retrieved from https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4287/10-Reasons-Why-You-Should-Drink-More-Water.html

6 Comments

  1. Simon

    Reply

    Awesome piece of writing! So it’s possible to snack healthy after all. And love the water recommendation – water helps in so many ways indeed.

    You did mention that it’s best to keep our calories low when eating between the main meals – this is crucual for weight loss for sure. What do you think about apetite suppressants?

    • MLim

      Reply

      Hi Simon, thanks for the query about appetite suppressants, my suggestion is to go the natural route of controlling our intake and portion size and snacking healthy etc. I would stay away from appetite suppressants as I consider this an unnatural way of controlling our diet, some are known to cause unwanted side effects such as a rapid heart rate, insomnia, and even anxiety. Hope this helps!

  2. Paul

    Reply

    Great article on snacking Merrell.

    Snacking is a great way to keep the body fuelled. Whenever I am involved in a strenuous physical activity, I make sure to have 3 full meals and 3 snacks per day.

    A very complete and nutritious breakfast is a must to begin the day and healthy “snacking” between these meals is very important.

    Smaller meals will make you feel less bloated and more energized. A definite must to stay healthy.

    Paul

    • MLim

      Reply

      Hi Paul, absolutely agree and many thanks for the added tips! Other readers will benefit from your suggestions as well!

      Speak Soon,

      Merrell

  3. kevin

    Reply

    I like the water part of this , ( I personally need to cut back on the fizzy drinks ) and I know fruit and nuts are always good, but is the anything else? like dairy? what is a good group to be travel ready, you know something that can sit in your bag for several days , but still be good to eat when your out and about?

    • MLim

      Reply

      Hi Kevin,

      For snack items that would last longer, perhaps there may be certain protein bars you can consider, what I would watch for is to make sure it doesn’t contain too high level of sugar content and saturated fats. Hope this helps!

      Speak soon,

      Merrell

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