Snacking can make or break a good nutrition regime, so if you find yourself snacking a little too frequently or making bad choices, it could be working against your efforts to be healthier.
Here are our top four snacking mistakes; are you doing any of them?
1. Mindless snacking
Due to busy modern living, it has become almost second nature to mindlessly snack at times. While you’re working, watching a television show, surfing the internet… Multi-tasking may be a useful ability, but it’s not ideal to be doing it while you’re eating! Make sure that when you are feeling peckish, your focus is entirely on the snack at hand (otherwise that bag of chips will be gone before you know it!).
2. Do you really need that snack at all?
Eating 5-6 small meals throughout the day is said to help keep your metabolism ticking over, stabilise energy levels and ensure you never feel hungry. However, if your energy levels are fine and your tummy isn’t rumbling on three main meals a day, snack time may just be adding unnecessary calories to your day. Experiment with your diet, listen to your body, and find out what’s right for you.
3. Using the word ‘healthy’ as an excuse to eat more
Just because a certain food is healthy doesn’t mean you should be eating more of it! Many of us know what foods are healthy and unhealthy, but keywords like ‘multigrain’, ‘healthy’ and ‘low fat’ can give the food a ‘health halo’ effect which results in the mindset you can eat as much of it as you like. Ensuring your portion servings are the right size can go a long way towards weight maintenance and weight loss. Check the recommended serving size of the snack you’re eating, as 250 calories worth of potato chips and 250 calories worth of fruit salad is still 250 calories.
4. Having a snack doesn’t mean it’s time to indulge!
Especially if you’ve been ‘good all day’ and feel like you ‘deserve a treat’ (sound familiar?)! A small slice of cake, a cookie or a candy bar may not feel like much in the grand scheme of your day’s food, but it will still be adding empty calories to your diet that won’t do anything for you nutritionally. Usually, that treat won’t even make you feel any better or contribute to you feeling less hungry in the mid to long term. Snacks should help you get from one main meal to the next by keeping energy levels constant; treats don’t do this, so make sure the snacks you choose are healthy options the majority of the time.
Image / FreeDigitalPhotos.net – Ambro