Home Lifestyle 4 mindful snacking tips for a healthier you

4 mindful snacking tips for a healthier you

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Snacking can support your health but it needs to be done the right way.

Snacking can support your health, but it needs to be done in the right way.

SNACKING is a growing trend around the world. Yet snacking is about so much more than what you eat. People want convenient and delicious snacks they feel good about eating, while also seeking balance when making their snack choices.

Mindful snacking is an approach to eating with intention and attention. It is about being conscious of what it is you want to eat, why you are eating and how it makes you feel.

So you do not have to choose between snacking and eating right for the moment.

Snacking can support your health, but it needs to be done in the right way. Instead of just providing extra calories, a good snack should provide quality nutrients as well. You can snack your way to better health.

Here are some tips to help you snack mindfully.

Make sure your meals are large enough to satisfy your hunger and contain the right balance of macronutrients and food groups to keep you full. Picture: Pexels/Jane Trang Doan

Make sure you are eating enough at mealtimes

If you find yourself frequently hungry between meals, you may benefit from eating more or simply eating differently at mealtimes to not rely on snacks.

Make sure your meals are large enough to satisfy your hunger and contain the right balance of macronutrients and food groups to keep you full.

It is normal to be hungrier on some days more than others, so you can adjust your food intake accordingly and be sure to do so without guilt or judgement.

Snack for hunger, not stress

When feeling stressed or bored, people often turn to food to cope. Treat yourself with love and respect. Do not abuse your body by overeating, which can increase stress levels with the weight gain that often results.

If you start craving sweets, which is a normal stress response, grab lean protein foods to reduce the cravings.

Such foods include hard-boiled eggs, pouches of seasoned tuna, cheese sticks, cottage cheese, yoghurt with no added sugar or soups made with lots of vegetables and legumes.

When you start to feel hungry, ask yourself, “Am I physically hungry or just stressed?”

If you realise you are reaching for a snack due to stress or boredom, distract yourself by going for a walk, doing something creative, talking with a friend on the phone, playing a game, or meditating on all the blessings you have instead.

Once you have decided it is time for a snack, make an effort to slow down the eating process. Picture: Pexels/Daniela Constantini

Take time to notice and appreciate your food

Once you have decided it is time for a snack, make an effort to slow down the eating process. Even if it is just a few moments or seconds, take time to notice the smell, taste and texture of your food.

Focus on savouring the sensations of each bite. Remember to pay attention to your physical hunger, fullness and satisfaction cues as you eat so that you can respond accordingly by eating more or concluding your snack.

Be mindful of portions

Remember that snacks should be just that- a snack and not another meal. It is hard to practise self-control when you have an entire bag of something tempting in front of you since your brain can become trained to eat until something is empty.

Try portioning out your snacks and keeping extras out of your reach to help with this.

It’s not about restricting yourself but assisting yourself with recognising your hunger and fullness cues.

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