Battling The Snack Attack!
It’s mid morning and you can hear the biscuit jar gently calling your name. You try to ignore it but its calls get louder and louder until you just can’t resist the urge to delve in and shut it up! It happens again at about 4pm but this time its the sugary snack you’ve got waiting in the fridge.
If you find your brain crying out for a treat but you’ve only just eaten breakfast or lunch there’s a strong possibility that your not controlling your blood sugar levels in the right way and controlling your appetite. Its a craving you have and not true hunger!
Below I’ve listed 6 ways that you can BATTLE THAT SNACK ATTACK! All are natural ways you can reduce those cravings and feel fuller for longer.
1. Eat More Fibre
High fibre foods will help keep you feeling fuller for longer. Wholefoods such brown rice and oats contain soluble fibre which acts like a sponge and soaks up moisture in your stomach. This will leave you feeling full. It also helps slow down the release of sugar from other foods preventing those energy dips and therefore food cravings, helping to regulate your appetite.
High fibre foods to try including in your meals are avocados, beans, broccoli, apples, nuts and seeds.
2. Get Enough Protein
If you suffer energy dips mid morning and mid afternoon try eating more protein at breakfast and then at lunch. A high carbohydrate breakfast or lunch will make your energy and blood levels peak but then crash again. By increasing the amount of protein on your plate you not only help your body convert any carbohydrates to sugar more slowly but you are also helping to repair tissues that are broken down during exercise.
Make sure that 30% of your plate is made up of healthy sources of protein such as chicken, fish (particularly oily fishes that contain omega 3), chickpeas and quinoa. For a healthy snack try nuts, boiled eggs and cheese. A great breakfast idea is scrambled eggs, with smoked salmon and avocado.
3. Drink Water
Feeling hungry? When was the last time you drank some water? Research has shown that your brain recognises thirst and hunger as similar sensations and so it’s easy to think you need food when its actually water that you need. The next time you feel a hunger pang drink a glass of water and then wait 20 minutes to see if you still feel hungry.
Ensure you sip 8-10 glasses of water a day (250ml glass) and drink one of those glasses before a meal to help prevent you from overeating. Always forgetting to drink water? There are some great apps out there that will send you reminders throughout the day to drink.
4. Break Habits
Normally one of the reasons we snack is because we’re bored, tired, stressed or sad. On this occasion it’s a psychological rather than physical craving. Another thing I see as a trainer is people skipping meals which then results in them craving less healthy options such as biscuits or chocolate in order to satisfy the body quickly.
When hunger strikes try eating an apple and some nuts. It will help try and fill that void and keep you feeling fuller for longer. With emotional eating we need to break that cycle and find an activity that distracts you from eating unhealthy snacks. It could be to play your favourite song, or go have a bath if you’re feeling tired and stressed or maybe have a stretch to relieve tension.
5. Skip Refined Carbs
Had a biscuit but feeling hungry again? Refined carbohydrates such as sweets, biscuits, snack bars and even dried fruit such as raisins and mango are all high on the glycemic index (GI) and release their sugar quickly into your system giving you a short term fix only.
Opt for fibre-rich, wholegrain snacks such as oat cakes or rice cakes where you can spread some nut butter on. Or try lower GI fruits such as apples, pears or cherries with some nuts.
6. Move More
It’s a myth to think that exercising more will make you feel hungrier. Exercise actually prevents cravings and curbs your appetite. Aerobic activity is proven to trigger the release of an appetite-suppressing hormone. Exercise also helps control blood sugar levels and your body’s insulin response.
To help your body recover post exercise, eat something nutritious such as a boiled egg or oat cake within 30 mins of completing exercise.