What usually happens is you snack either out of boredom or because your brain ‘thinks’ it is hungry so you reach for what is in your cupboard or fridge.
I guess if the unhealthy item isn’t in your cupboard or fridge in the first place, you can’t reach for it! That’s why your visit to the supermarket is so important.
I’ve heard it said that you shouldn’t go to the supermarket feeling hungry as you’re much more likely to pile crisps, sweets, cakes, fizzy pop into your trolley. I’m not sure if that’s true or not but it’s better to be on the safe side and eat before you go.
Also, supermarkets are shrewd (well the people who plan the isles are!). They tend to place all of the unhealthy items (you know, the ones that your brain craves) right in front of your nose. So, when you walk into the store, you have a stockpile of lager or boxes of cakes.
Plus it’s a seasonal thing – so in the summer, you’ll have the barbeque food items right there as you walk in. Of course you’re tempted, that’s the whole idea of it. Plus, there’s always a special offer on those items. Buy one crate of lager, get a second free.
Then you have more unhealthy sugary items at the end of the isles too – I mean, you don’t usually get crates of broccoli staring you in the face as you enter a new isle!
I suggest that you make a list before you go to the supermarket and stick to that list. Don’t be tempted by those offers. You’ll probably end up throwing food away anyway so it makes no sense to buy 2 or 3 packets of something.
If you do want a bottle of red wine, then write that on your list and plan your treats.
Boredom…what happens when you’re at home watching TV, and feel peckish? If your brain has been conditioned to act on boredom with eating, it’s a hard habit to break. If you don’t grab those 2 Chunky KitKats, you’ll feel cheated and get frustrated. Having an apple doesn’t have the same appeal does it? You’ll usually feel hungry again pretty quickly so reach for the rest of the packet!
It’s time to change your thinking on snacking. As I mentioned earlier, if you don’t buy the Chunky KitKats then you can’t eat them. You will soon get used to not having them. Instead, have one as a one-off ‘treat’ then it won’t be a habitual thing having a sugary snack to satiate your hunger.
What could you have instead then? Well, as I sometimes get into bad habits with snacking, I decided to put together a short healthy snack guide. I came up with 40 ideas, which are so simple. You hardly need any preparation time with most of them and it gets you into good habits.
Having a sliced apple with almond butter is actually very tasty (or peanut butter if almond butter doesn’t suit). Apple = good; almond butter = good. It will satisfy your snacking hunger and it will be good for you too.
If it’s late at night, stick to mainly protein snacks as too many carbohydrates will have an effect on your sleep (your body will release insulin in response to a carb snack/meal). You want to switch insulin off late on but protein is ok. The almond butter would be a good idea here as would any type of nuts or seeds. For example, almonds with sea salt would be a good choice.
To avoid hunger mid-morning, I always advise people to eat a good, hearty breakfast. I know it’s a contentious issue but it’s what works for me and the people who I train. Some people insist on missing breakfast but I say, because you’ve gone many hours without food, your body needs something to avoid going into a mini-starvation mode. Like I said though, it’s your choice whether or not to eat breakfast.
If you have a sweet tooth and enjoy chocolate, why not try dark chocolate instead? At first, your taste buds may not thank you for it but the taste does improve and you will soon get used to it. Aim for the cocoa content of 70% or more, usually non-dairy. If you really can’t stomach it, melt the dark chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water then mix with natural (or soya) yogurt – it will seem like it’s milk chocolate!! Serve with mixed nuts and berries.
Stuck for more ideas? No problem, here’s my healthy snack guide, containing 40 snacks. You may have already downloaded it but haven’t got around to looking at it yet. Well, have a look right now and get some new ideas: HEALTHY SNACK GUIDE
I hope that helps. That’s the first topic from your feedback covered. Tune in next time when I’ll be discussing exercise and time.