I hate to be the fun police but, with winter well and truly upon us, it’s time to reconsider the mindless snacking if you want to avoid the cold weather calorie creep. It might seem like yonks away, but swimsuit season has a habit of appearing hella quickly once the kgs have crept on… The lesson? Snacks are all well and good, but remember the term is snack, so keep it small and nutrient packed – and make sure your body actually needs it. Read on and snack smart, bellas.
You know the old adage, eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen, and dinner like a pauper. Again and again, studies prove this approach to eating has its merits, particularly when it comes to breakfast. Eating a healthy, balanced breakfast will give you fuel for the day, kick your metabolism into gear, and prevent you snacking on sugar-loaded biscuits at 10:30am. In fact, a recent study claims eating two breakfasts is better for your waistline than skipping brekkie altogether. So get up and get eating!
Eat lunch & dinner too, mindfully
Some experts would say you don’t need snacks at all if you eat three healthy meals a day. I would disagree (see, not the fun police!), but we’re creatures of habit, and eating decent-sized meals at regular meal times will go some way to curbing snack attacks. I know when I start on the cheese at wine o’clock and skip ‘dinner dinner’, I end up grazing on junk until my bedtime.
Health experts are all about eating mindfully, and paying attention to cues from your body. If you are actually listening, rather than slamming down a toastie on your walk back to the office, your body will tell you when it’s getting full.
Staying hydrated throughout the day is essential to keep cravings at bay, as we often mistake thirst for hunger. Don’t wait until you actually feel thirsty, but sip fluids regularly, and start the day with a big glass of water. Cold water can be unappetising when it’s cold, so pop the kettle on and go nuts with the herbal teas. Peppermint aids with digestion, spearmint has acne benefits, and green tea is full of antioxidants, perfect for keeping you healthy during cold season.
Count your coffees
If you take milk, and especially if you take sugar, your coffees should be included in your snack intake. Many people forget about the calories in their three chai lattes… But your hips won’t.
One of the best ways to control yourself at snack-time is to be well prepared. If 3pm hits and you’re craving chocolate, you’re way more likely to give in and hit the corner store for a Mars Bar if you don’t have any healthy snacks on hand. Keep snack-sized portions of healthy food in your desk or office fridge, like a handful of nuts, carrot sticks and hummous, or small pot of natural yoghurt and berries. Preparing your snacks into single portions will stop you from continually reaching your hand back into that bag of pretzels. And avoiding high-fat or high-sugar snacks will keep you fuller longer, and avoid the rollercoaster blood sugar ride you get stuck on after eating junk.
Manage your emotions…
If you’re stressed, angry, or sad, it pays to remember that the answer can’t be found in a choc chip cookie. Try not to make your every day solutions or rewards about food. If tensions are high, excuse yourself from the situation and go for a quick walk around the block. If you need a little pick me up, call a good friend, buy a new lippie, or your favourite glossy mag.
At the end of the day, if you have tried all of the above and you are truly hungry and truly craving something decadent, go for it. Sometimes kale chips just won’t cut it! Denying yourself will just make you fixate on what you can’t have and your blowout will be ten times bigger when it does arrive.