Stop the Snacking Madness!
We are snack obsessed these days.
Look in any household pantry or cupboard, gas station, convenience stores, and grocery aisles and you will likely find a variety of processed snacks in the form of chips, bars, and sugary fruit shaped gelatin. Before we discuss how to stop incessant snacking we should address why we snack in the first place. The obvious reason is that we are hungry. The not so obvious reasons may be because something looks especially tasty, we are bored, we are upset, we are celebrating etc. This list could go on for a while. Yes we need to consume energy between meals sometimes, but if the ultimate goal of having a snack is to balance our blood sugar and stave off hunger before the next meal what if we put the focus on what we ate BEFORE the snack craving hit?
1. Balance your meals by filling your plate, bowl, or container with 30% protein, 30% healthy fats, and 40% carbohydrates mainly in the form of starchy and non-starchy vegetables (yes vegetables are carbohydrates). Adding a small amount of whole grains and/or legumes if you tolerate them is OK too. This is hard if you’re used to eating many small meals or snacking throughout the day, but we encourage you to try it!
2. Drink green tea and bone broths in between meals or snack on nutrient dense choices like nuts and seeds, raw veggies with guacamole, apple with almond butter, chia seed pudding, almond flour or seed crackers with raw cheddar cheese, olives, or beef jerky. Your body needs time to self-clean. If we are constantly eating that can’t happen. This is true for between meals and while we sleep. We advocate for at least a 12 hour period between dinner and breakfast and about 4 hours or so between meals.
3. Bring emphasis back to family meals. Of course there will be times when family obligations scatter everyone in different directions, but on most days we should look forward to cooking and sitting down together to eat at a reasonable hour for dinner.
If you have children you likely hear “Can I have a snack?” multiple times a day. Trying to find a balance between teaching healthy habits and being a food cop is hard! Kids have smaller stomachs than adults so their appetites are not as big. Therefore they do need snacks. However, they don’t need to be eating products high in sugar, fat, and refined carbohydrates all day long. It’s a vicious cycle with kids. They don’t eat their meal and they want a snack shortly after. Or they ate too many snacks and won’t touch their food at meal time. Try and have a basic feeding schedule in place and not so many processed snacks in your pantry.
Tamara Geffin, FNTP (student)