We all have periods of excess, times when we get a little too used to enjoying the finer things in life. At such times, we can get into the habit of regular snacking, which can be damaging to both our health and our waistlines. However, no one is exempt from little cravings, even when our hunger levels don’t match what we are eating. This can lead the body into bad habits, such as eating too often between meals. Here are a few anti-snacking tips, for when you decide you need to take the matter in hand!
1) Eat enough at meal times
Ensuring you eat enough healthy food at meal times will help you avoid unwanted hunger pangs throughout the course of the day. You need to ensure your meals are balanced and healthy. Eating foods that are too sweet or savoury is to be avoided, and you should opt instead for vegetables, fruit and lean meats. Eating well will help avoid spikes in your blood sugar levels (and thus help avoid hunger pangs). Choose foods that are rich in fibre (especially soluble fibres), such as in porridge, sweet potatoes, lentils, chickpeas, beans, quinoa, bulgur wheat, whole grain brown bread or walnuts and almonds (as well as other healthy fats that regulate the glycemic index).
Remember also to chew your food well and take your time with eating. A meal should last between 35 and 40 minutes if you are properly savouring your food! And don’t get up from the table if you are still hungry.
2) Eat on a regular schedule
Define your meal times and try to stick to a regular eating schedule every day, without ever skipping meals. You will soon get into the routine of it!
It is often recommended that you eat every 4 hours so as to avoid hunger. If you are doing this, prepare light snacks (fruits, yoghurts, etc.) in advance. This will make you less likely to crack and go for sweet treats.
3) Sip on some water and lemon
Between the acidity and the pectin, this drink has everything you need for controlling appetite. This natural hunger-buster will help you distinguish between the sensation of hunger that is linked to thirst, and actual hunger.
In general, remember to drink plenty water to eliminate toxins and help the body use the energy and nutrients from your food.
4) Don’t skip breakfast
A balanced breakfast is your best anti-snacking ally! You will start the day feeling nice and full and you’ll be much less likely to give in to temptation. For a healthy breakfast, avoid sugary cereals, white bread, butter and chocolate spreads. Go instead for whole grains, fruit, semi skimmed milk and tea or coffee without sugar, in order to fill you up.
5) Brush your teeth
Brushing your teeth can get rid of hunger pangs! And if you’re determined to snack regardless, the taste of the toothpaste is likely to make you stop at the first bite!
6) Snack intelligently
Sometimes, our body demands a treat, despite our best efforts. Don’t ignore it! If you’re dying for chocolate, take a few squares, just don’t overdo it. Getting frustrated with cravings will only lead to more frustration.