Let’s talk about snacking, baby! Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be…lurking in your cupboard and calling your name after dinner.
Oh, yes, who doesn’t love snacking? Let’s be real.. Netflix-ing in the evening is rarely just that…it’s more like Netflix + whatever unhealthy carbs we could find at home. We’ve all been there and I am guilty as charged.
What happens when it starts getting out of control?
In the current situation of worldwide lockdown, more and more people face the same problem – uncontrollable binge eating episodes and frustration with food.
Binge eating processed foods has its scientific and physiological explanation. Highly processed foods (e.g. candy, pizza, chocolate bars, etc.) have a much higher abuse liability compared to minimally processed foods . In other words – junk food leads to addiction and it’s just as hard to overcome as any other addiction. To do that you need to figure out what the necessary steps are and focus on them with determination and discipline.
The reasons we turn to food for comfort or even entertainment could be countless – boredom, trauma, hardships. We’ve probably all been through periods of intense flirting with sugary foods – I know I have (as an unaware teenage girl). But now that I know better, I can confidently say that I rarely, if ever, need to snack (and when I do, it’s mostly fruits or yogurt). The simple reason fоr that is: the less you have it, the less you crave it. And this should be your ultimate goal – train your taste buds to prefer wholesome, unprocessed foods instead of processed ones. Sure, it takes time and some discipline, but once you switch your menu to 80-85% healthy, wholesome and nutrient-dense food, you will find yourself craving real food more, compared to any kind of processed treats – be it chips, chocolate, snacks, etc. This leads me to my first tip:
1. Shop wisely.
I know, I know, it sounds cruel (also pretty obvious), but that’s the easiest way to stay away from all the sneaky and empty calories that come along with binge eating – you just need to stop buying garbage food.
Just eliminate it from your house!
Make it your goal to avoid the temptation aisles at the grocery store altogether.
If you’re dead set on getting some snacks – switch it up and buy fruits and/or nuts instead – they make for great snacks without the nasty additives, food colorings, etc. that you get in most processed foods.
2. Get the people around you onboard
We alone are responsible for our success or failures but it sure helps to have the people around you on the same page.
It just won’t work if you’re trying to cut down on mindless binge eating and your partner is sitting next to you demolishing an entire bag of chips.
Have a talk with everyone in your household and make sure they understand, respect, and support your decision to improve your diet. This means no mocking remarks, no eating crappy food in front of you, and no pushing you to “try just one”.
Even better, maybe they join you on your quest to conquer unhealthy eating habits!
3. Have drinks like coffee/tea/homemade lemonade/juice instead.
Quite often we binge on certain foods just to keep ourselves busy. In those cases better switch it up to some type of drink. Make yourself a lemonade – squeeze out a lemon in 1.5l of water, add some honey and a few mint leaves and enjoy – delicious, healthy, hydrating. Don’t forget a funky straw though, it changes the whole experience.
Now that we’re at it, you can also try my favorite homemade electrolyte drink with ginger. It’s great for digestion as well!
Or just have your trusted coffee or tea. Add a bit of milk, maybe add some honey, flavor it up and this should keep your senses satisfied.
4. Prepare/bake your own goodies.
Nothing better than homemade food, right? The advantages of baking your own snacks are threefold: 1) You get an interesting and stress-relieving activity, 2) You save yourself all the artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, etc. that you find in processed foods, 3) You get not only delicious but also nutritious snacks to enjoy with a guilt-free mind.
For example, check out these delicious carrot & almond butter muffins I recently made – something you can enjoy with a guiltfree mind either as breakfast or an easy snack on the go.
If this sounds good, check out my pancake recipe too, it involves a lot of the same ingredients.
Overcoming food addiction is neither quick nor easy. Everything starts in the mind and whether or not you set your goals right. Practicing daily meditation can help with visualizing your goals and improving your mindset.
Another point that often stays overlooked is having a consistent training program. The benefits of daily exercising are countless – starting from improved overall health to a better mood.
Last but not least, it’s scientifically proven that you’re more likely to overeat if you’re not getting enough and high-quality sleep . Make sure you’re sleeping well! Hint: Training will help you with that as well!
What about you?
- What are your ways to tame the beast that wakes up by the sound of a chips bag popping open?
- What are your favorite homemade snacks?