How to snack happy for weight loss
This girl isn't happy. Look at her ripping into that doughnut! I imagine it's 3pm - it's slump time in a funky city office somewhere and she's quite frankly bored of the third pitch presentation she's been tarting up today - and if she doesn't eat she'll bang her head on the keyboard instead. So she eats. Aggressively.
We've all been there: 11am, 3pm, 'in from work but 2 hours to dinner with t'other half' 6pm.
Snacks account for the main excess calories in our diets - yet we focus all of our eating strategies on our main meals, which tend actually to be pretty fine. We're not daft, we've embraced Mediterranean vegetables, green leaves and quinoa years ago.
A sorted snack strategy is a powerful tool.
If you do just one thing this February, make it the month you master snacks and if you are after weight loss then you'll start to see results.
OK - I'm going to start with the bad news.
Sugar is the devil. Now I know you know it - it's the only food in Eat Love Live that I do allow to be demonised! I'm talking refined sugars primarily - the white stuff, cakes, biscuits, sweets. Most of the excess sugars in my clients' diets also come in snack form.
You are aiming to have around 30 grams of sugar in your diet - that's sugar from any source. A banana is around 12 grams. There's sugar in your tin of tomatoes and sugar in your bread. That 30 grams is pretty much taken up with your normal main meals; and that's OK, that's good - if you are going to have sugar that's where you'd want it to be.
So add in something like an Eat Natural bar for elevenses for example, and you've got a whopping 15.3 grams of sugar right there.
A happy snack strategy is one that's low in sugar, filling, grabable and recognises where in the day you feel like grabbing the nibbles. Sugar substitutes - diet coke, fat free fruit yoghurts are all just as bad. Worse even because of how your body processes them. James Duigan, author of Clean and Lean gave a spot on quote in an interview, he said he'd rather have a homemade steak and kidney pie than a fat free fruit yoghurt!
I've separated the strategy into the 4 main times of day when we are most likely to snack. You don't have to snack at all of them; ideally you'd be feeling a bit hungry, but it would be daft to not recognize sometimes we eat just because we have a gap in the day!
It's 3 hours after breakfast and and 90 minutes to lunch. You've been working hard all morning and you find yourself slowing at 11. You can't quite justify having lunch yet but you know you really want something to do, erm I mean eat.
11am is the time to drink more water. A big glass of it and grab something quick that will tide you over to 12ish. You'll find if you can drink a litre of water in the morning you may not get those snack attacks - you are unlikely, unless you are an athlete or in a physical job, to be starving so close to breakfast and lunch. Give that a try before you grab something to actually eat.
If you really do find you want to eat then my recommendation is for a quick and light snack - almonds/carrot sticks or berries. A large handful of blueberries will do the trick nicely.
Take a break, have water, have a cup of tea and a little snack and get your head into something else for the next 90 minutes because lunch is coming!
2. The 3pm Slump
OK - now hunger really is kicking in. You're a bit sleepy at this time of day - you've nailed it so far but you feel a bit tired and need a pick me up. Now is the time to snack on something that will carry you over to tea time and get that energy back up!
These snacks are slightly more substantial - rice cakes with nut butter or cream cheese (have 2), natural yoghurt with chopped fruit, 2 x hard boiled eggs (very transportable!).
3. The 6pm - I'm in from work but I want to eat at 8ish when the house is quiet!!
This one is my downfall. I like to eat with my OH when he is back from work about 8pm, but I am generally really hungry at 6pm when I get in from work and my daughter and I usually head straight for the kitchen. I've suggested some family friendly snacks here that will please everyone and which take time to prepare and eat so you can keep yourself busy. Then get out of the kitchen!
Sliced apple or celery with a large spoon of nut butter. This is my favourite snack ON THE PLANET. I have it pretty much every day in the week and Alice loves it too. I don't bring nut butter around with me out of the house as the stuff really likes to leak and it's not the most attractive thing to have smeared all over your notebook.
Popcorn or pretzels, a small bowl - perfect to be snacked on whilst chilling, and the third and final one get some protein in you! A small slice of cheese if you can stop at just one or a slice of lean ham or chicken with some chutney on the side.
4. And finally - the 9pm chilling - I WANT WINE OR CHOCOLATE
I like this one - I now try to just have that type of home-based alcoholic evening at the weekend. I noticed a huge difference in my health and how I carried weight when I cut back on wine in the week. I'll do another blog specifically on that one later - but some alternative evening snack suggestions are ....
A lovely big orange is perfect here because it takes time to prepare and segment and time to eat; pineapple works well also. It feels really decadent and fresh after a meal if you really want something and you have to work for it, rather than just grab it out of the fridge like a Freddo.
Rice cakes with chocolate on them are also a winner - you can get packs of mini ones now, but 2 large ones are also good and surprisingly low in sugar.
And my final favourite - oatcakes and nut butter or guacamole. 3 of those will leave you feeling full and satisfied and if you have nut butter it tastes sweet even though it isn't. Magic!
On the wine front, I find sparkling water works well to distract me usually long enough so I get past the 'I NEED this' phase. (I never need it really). That's a whole other subject to cover though - get to the snacks first to get those results.
I'd love to know - How do you snack, what works for you and where do you find your HUNGER goes into overdrive?
PS: Grab my free download - the 28 day ELL journal - kick start your weight loss one week at a time - click here!