Happy Thursday, hope you are all having a great week so far and that all my American friends are enjoying the start of their WEEK OFF (practically) for Thanksgiving.
Forgive me for being slightly jealous of the fact that we Canadians get a whole THREE days for Thanksgiving while you guys get like a year off…
There was a thought I was having over the past few days and it involves snacking.
I hear all the time that people feel they need to stop snacking in order to gain control of their weight.
Is snacking really a bad thing?
Does snacking lead to excessive eating and gaining weight?
Short answer is maybe.
Snacking in general is not bad. If you’re feeling hungry, EAT! That is your body saying that it’s out of fuel and needs more. In these cases, if you’re in that mid afternoon slump and your tummy starts rumbling at you, never second guess nibblin away on something to satiate you until your next meal.
Something with a lil protein, lil carbs and lil fat. Try to get at least 2 of the 3 macronutrients in a snack (3 for meals). Balance folks!
~Greek yogurt + berries (or granola)
~Healthy, homemade goodies like muffins, bars or cookies
~Veggies and dips like hummus
~Homemade trail mix (nuts for some fats, some oat clusters for some carbs, etc) over some cottage cheese or greek yogurt
So I can snack my life away then?
Short answer, probably not.
These are my own thoughts, keep that in mind.
As I just talked about, I have no qualms with snacking when you’re hungry and the next meal is quite a bit of time in the future. No point in starving yourself for the simple reason of ‘I shouldn’t be snacking.’
On the other hand, I really don’t believe in snacking all day. Here’s my thoughts:
For one, if you snack all the time, you are never really satisfied. You grab a few spoonfuls of this, handfuls of that and walk away only to find yourself back with your head in the cupboards or fridge 20 minutes later.
This not only makes it so that you can’t get anything done because you’re still hungry but it also means that food is on your mind 24/7 and that’s not healthy either. You should be able to eat to the point where you feel satisfied and nourished and then you can move on with your life and get something else done.
The second thing is that I find that the types of ‘snacks’ when someone is just mindlessly snacking are different then when they may have packed a pick-me-up for that “just in case I’m hungry”scenario. Snacking all day tends to be on whatever you may be craving at that moment and what is just right in front of you.
Hello peanut butter jar…5 tbsp later..
3-4 spoons of ice cream becomes 8…9…15…
A handful of chips becomes the whole bag…
What I’m getting at here is that when you are simply snacking, you don’t really give much thought to it and things start to add up because you are not feeling satisfied (probably due to the lil amount, the fact that generally it’s only 1 macro group, etc) and just keep going back for more bits n’bites.
The last thing I want to mention is once again a byproduct of not being satisfied…
Eating when you’re not actually hungry.
This can be a big problem if it’s done all the time. Yes, sometimes we eat when we aren’t hungry and that’s okay. Thats part of being human and often part of the social scene. On the other hand, if you do this as a daily thing, your calories may go over what you need and therefore lead to weight gain.
That is when snacking becomes detrimental and some changes should be made. **In my opinion…
So why do we snack when we’re not hungry?
This was really the thing that I was thinking about over the past few days because I was reading and hearing about individuals expressing concerns about their snacking habits.
So what do I think?
People are lacking balance.
Balance is having a variety of the macronutrients on your plate. Balance is having a full, satisfying meal…on a plate…not from a spoon and feeling satisfied.
Having a handful of dry cereal or granola is not balance, it’s just carbs.
Eating peanut butter straight from the jar multiple times a day is not balance, it’s mostly just fat.
Grabbing from your lil candy stash leftover from Halloween as an afternoon snack is not balance, instead, it’s just a recipe for binge eating on sugar.
I honestly believe that people, especially my fellow students just don’t have the patience to make and sit down to a MEAL and turn to snacking to get them through the day. Then they complain that they are gaining weight and don’t know why.
This mindless snacking could be more harmless if the foods chosen were whole foods like vegetables and proteins, but lets be real, most people are not going to raiding their fridge for carrots. The former would often stop you from going overboard because of the fiber (in the veggie’s case) and the filling nature of proteins. What is often the issue is that snacks are more processed and just lead to wanting to eat more.
Wow I have talked for a long time (hello 1000 word post already…). To sum it all up, I tend to swing more towards meals, with snacking being left in between if they are needed. Meals are more likely to strike that balance of having carbs/protein/fats in one spot and that leaves you feeling much more satisfied as your body is getting a bit of everything rather then feeling like it’s missing something. That “I need something else” feeling is what drives that need to shovel something else in your mouth to compensate.
So do yourself a favour. Take a break and eat a meal. A sit-down, filling meal that you can enjoy and then move on to non-food related matters. Ie. live your life.
Do you snack?
Do you prefer snacking or mealin’?