When we think about snacking, eating a whole bag of chips while binging on television shows or a doughnut during an all-nighter comes to mind. Snacking has long had the connotation of being an unhealthy habit and a lot of it has to do with our association to junk food and sweets. If you’re pursuing a diet, snacking is often one of the first things a diet aims to cut out. But, is it really necessary?
Many people snack before bedtime, in between meals, or in small amounts throughout the day. There are various reasons behind why someone chooses to snack or wants to, ranging from hunger to boredom.
Why do we feel the urge to snack?
The urge to snack boils down to a wide range of reasons. Let’s look at some of the common ones:
- Stress: Unsurprisingly, this is one of the biggest triggers for people reaching out to fatty or sugary foods. Our bodies produce cortisol when we’re stressed, which leads to increased sugar in the blood. With souped-up hormone levels, our bodies are preparing for the fight or flight response that doesn’t get executed because it’s usually the case that we’re sitting behind a screen rushing deadlines. The lost fuel results in the desire for a snack. Excessive amounts of caffeine, sugar-heavy stimulants such as energy drinks and candy are culprits of stress-induced snacking.
TIP: Go for fruits or nuts if you’re craving something sweet and avoid the sugar high.
- Comfort: Snacking is a convenient way of self-soothing. People comfort-eat for a number of reasons or in response to feelings like anxiety, sadness, and fear. Sensory-stimulating foods like a warm brownie and sweet ice-cream are both examples of popular snack items. Unfortunately, these are also high in fat and sugar.
TIP: Opt for whole grain foods and elevate your mood.
- Self-reward: It’s never a bad idea to treat yourself. Digging into your favourite Ben & Jerry’s or munching on potato crisps are alright in small portions, spaced out.
TIP: Replace food with other activities or treats as rewards. Think spas, massages, or retail therapy. These are great ways to self-treat without compromising on your health.
Misconceptions around snacking
Understand and debunk these misconceptions so you can snack healthily and guilt-free.
1. Snacking is unhealthy
Snacking as an activity is not bad. The choice of snacks, however, is a whole different story. Doughnuts, candy, popcorn, cakes, and bakes are common snack items that our mind and stomach gravitate towards. You don’t have to give up snacking if that’s how you enjoy spending your Saturday afternoons with a movie. Pick items that are lower in fat and sugar content.
Switch your sugary snacks for natural sugars found in bananas, strawberries, and blackberries. Opt for nuts if you’re looking for crunchier snacks. You can also experiment making healthy versions of your favourite snacks. Try homemade popcorn instead of store-bought ones!
2. Snacking ruins your appetite
Snacking can be helpful when done in moderation. Going overboard with your snacks can make you feel fuller, which makes you much less hungrier during mealtimes – when you’re supposed to eat. Depending on your energy needs or activities for the day, moderate the number of calories you’re consuming when it’s snack time.
3. Snacking slows down your dieting wins
Contrary to popular opinion, properly managed snacking can, in fact, help diet plans. Restraining your hunger pangs in an unrealistic manner doesn’t help your dieting efforts. Having healthy snacks in between meals can support your diet plans by motivating you.
Complement your well-being with comprehensive GP insurance
Good health and well-being takes significant effort. One of the best ways to do that is through acquiring a comprehensive GP insurance that will keep your medical bills low. Supplement that with healthy eating habits and regular exercise for good health for the long-term.
Speak with our team of brokers to see how we can help you be ready.