One of the more common problems I have had emails about, and have also suffered myself, is the urge to snack (the unhealthy kind of snacking).
For me personally, snacking is a problem for two main reasons; not eating properly and boredom. Believe it or not, I haven’t been bored during this lockdown period (two children to entertain and home schooling has seen to that), but I do know that for the first couple of weeks I wasn’t eating properly.
I’ve changed that by making sure I have good, healthy and nutritious food in the house, as well as not many things that can lead me astray (two children have kept me from being bored, but they haven’t helped me with keeping the cupboards entirely healthy).
Here are some top tips for you:
- Limit caffeine (or cut it out entirely). It can cause an artificial spike in your energy levels, when this drops, your body can crave another source of energy.
- Stabilise your blood sugar levels (for the same reason above, if your blood sugar levels drop, you can end up craving another boost). You can help by eating foods that are low on the glycaemic index.
- Eat a good breakfast (it should contain slow release carbohydrates and protein to keep you feeling fuller for longer).
- Eat regularly. This is another trick for stabilising your blood sugar levels, so have a healthy snack in between meals – a handful of nuts and some fresh fruit is ideal.
- Plan ahead. If you know what meals you are going to have and when, you will have a nicely stocked cupboard and avoid scrabbling around for meals and just eating whatever is in.
- Get plenty of sleep. Its no surprise we snack more when we are tired, the body needs the energy boost sugary foods can give.
If some of the above doesn’t work, remember the 2 minute rule. Its very simple – if you reach for a snack, a sweet treat or something a little unhealthy, before you eat it, you have to put it on a plate, place it in front of you and look at it for 2 minutes. During those 2 minutes, ask yourself these things;
1. Do I need to eat this?
2. Is it good for me?
3. How will I feel afterwards?
4. What could I have or do instead?
If you can convince yourself that its a good idea to eat whatever it is, then you go ahead, but the thought processes you will have in those two minutes are powerful and you will start to condition your mind not to need that unhealthy snack. One other little tip – to give yourself a helping hand during the 2 minutes – drink a glass of water whilst you think, it will play a little trick on your brain…