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To snack or not to snack? Snacking has many different schools of thought, and it is determined by a number of circumstances. Every individual is unique with their own set of circumstances.
Snacking is a time during which people tend to overeat sweet, carbohydrate-rich, energy-dense foods such as biscuits and crisps. What counts is what you choose to nibble on, as well as not becoming ravenously hungry, which might lead to poor eating decisions later.
So, before you reach for a snack, ask yourself the following questions:
1. When you snack, it's more about what you eat than when you eat it.
2. If you must snack, make it count by eating consciously and without distractions. This ensures that your body receives fullness signals, which may help you in avoiding overeating.
3. Choose nutrient-dense snacks like Chia seeds or Pumpkin seeds to satisfy your hunger between meals and keep you from overeating. Sugary, low-fiber, high-calorie foods that don't fill you up and raise your blood sugar levels should be avoided.
4. It's easy to overindulge in healthy snacks, so don't interpret this as permission to eat whatever you want. A snack should contain no more than 250 calories, just enough to satisfy you, but it should not be considered as an opportunity to overeat.
5. It's all too easy to spend too much money on snacks that aren't truly necessary. Don't forget that the snack industry earns millions of pounds in sales each year and spends a lot of money on marketing. So, make your own snacks by buying in bulk and portioning them out so you always have a modest handful to snack on.
6. When purchasing so-called energy/protein bars, read the label and ingredient list thoroughly. They are aggressively promoted to make them not only look nice but also taste good, although they are often rich in sugar, low in protein, and nutritionally deficient. The high sugar content will induce significant blood sugar rises.
7. Don't be misled into thinking that all cereals and fruit bars are healthy. They may appear healthy and are advertised as such, but they are not. They often contain sugar and vegetable oil.
8. Bring snacks with you when you're out and about so you're not caught off guard if you get hungry. When people are hungry, they usually grab the first thing that comes their way.
9. If you work from home or at an office, keep your snacks out of reach or at arm's length. That is, if your snacks are right in front of you on your desk, you are more likely to eat them simply because they are there, as opposed to having to reach for them in a drawer.