As a significant portion of the population spends more time indoors amid the viral pandemic, we are also snacking more in our time at home. I often find myself hoarding multitudes of snacks to help pass the time without regard for the calorie intake or the unhealthy ingredients in these snacks. How do we strike the balance between guilt-free snacking during this difficult time? How do we avoid coming out of the pandemic in a worse physical state than when we started? There’s a couple of things we can do to create healthier snacking habits.
Eat three meals a day on time: Part of healthy snacking starts with having a balanced diet. I find that staying at home for online classes affected my eating schedule dramatically. As a result, I was snacking at times when I should have eaten dinner or prepared breakfast instead. When our bodies are craving energy, we might reach for foods that don’t satisfy the macronutrients like protein, fats and carbohydrates. When I did revert to having three meals a day with adequate hours apart, I felt my energy resurge and I was able to keep my snacking to only twice a day between meals.
Go nuts: nuts are an amazing add to my snacking collection. While eating simple carbs like potato chips or cinnamon rolls, I find myself falling into a sugary coma after the endeavor. Dried nuts however help me stay awake and focused. Particularly a mix of different salted pecans, pistachios and walnuts have been my snacking staple for the last two weeks. Don’t be afraid to also add them to your baking recipes or even breakfast oatmeal for an extra crunchy texture.
Snack thoughtfully: I find that the simple act of bringing my snack to where I work or entertain has the potential for snacking to go out of hand. Especially when snacks nowadays are engineered so that the snacker finishes the entire package. Thoughtlessly rummaging through a chip bag could mean finishing the entire party pack in a single day. To pace your snacking adventures, try taking a break from the screen or other activity and snack in a certain area. This way by dissociating the activity with snacking, you might find that your snack stash also lasts you a lot longer.
Take out the portion you’d like to eat: One of my personal bad habits was eating snacks from the original packaging. It’s so convenient and simple what’s not to love right? Without portion control, snacking freely can undo some of the workouts and balanced eating streak. The smarter way to snack would be to take a handful of popcorn and reseal the bag or weigh out the amount you’d like to snack. That way you can also create variety in your snacking without committing to one category of snacks. For example, nowadays I enjoy taking out a single mandarin orange and grabbing a handful of my flaming hot cheetos.