You know it, we know it—everyone needs to be better behaved with snacking. In the UK, 30 percent of young women report skipping meals in favour of snacking throughout the day. In Scotland, half of all sugar in an average diet comes from sweet treats, often eaten as snacks. And in America, one-quarter of the average calories per day comes from snacks.
It’s true that eating small and frequent meals—rather than two or three large ones—is linked to a lower Body Mass Index (BMI), but this doesn’t mean that your habits are in the clear. Whether our snacking harms or helps us depends on what those snacks are.
Don’t Have The Time?
Limited time is by far the number one reason we skip meals in favour of easy snacks. Unfortunately, easy snacks such as crisps and sweets are often bad for us. But good planning can go a long way to helping you avoid the pitfalls of unhealthy snacking.
Instead of waiting around until you’re inevitably hungry mid-day (and then susceptible to the allure of something pre-packaged from your closest grocer), make a point to load up on healthy options when you do your regular shopping. To quench those afternoon cravings, pick up individual packets of low-salt nuts and dried fruit to make your own trail mix—add in some dark chocolate chips, rich in antioxidants, if you have a sweet tooth.
Another day at the office means another birthday, welcome, goodbye or “just because I baked last night” occasion. When everyone else is enjoying unhealthy snacks in the office kitchen, it can be tempting to join in.
If possible, encourage your co-workers to celebrate with fruit or cheese platters. If this isn’t an option, suggest that celebratory sweets only be put out during lunchtime. This will benefit not only your own health, but that of your officemates as well.
Combatting The Zzz’s
If you find yourself a victim of the mid-afternoon slump, a quick sugar rush isn’t the solution you’re looking for. Opt instead for a piece of fruit like an apple—a natural source of caffeine—or a banana—a better energy boost than an actual energy drink, according to a 2012 study.
If you manage to prepare your snacks ahead of time, try a chia seed pudding. The simple snack is made from mixing chia seeds with a non-dairy milk and soaking overnight. This easy meal can be brought along with your day in a small container and will give you a burst of energy from the protein, fibre and hydration you’ll be getting.
Women’s Snacking Secrets Revealed