Nutrition is the most important part of any fitness plan. It doesn’t matter how much exercise you do, if you don’t eat healthy meals, you’ll most probably gain weight.
For best healthy eating results, have 3 meals and 2 snacks per day.
Healthy meals are very important as they provide energy in the form of carbs, as well as the proteins, vitamins and fiber your body needs to function throughout the day.
Between meals, it’s common to feel hungry and snacks are a good way to prevent too much hunger and cravings. Being less hungry also stops you from overeating when you eat your main meals.
Most of the snacks available in supermarkets today taste good but are loaded with calories, sugar, fat and salt. They are very addictive and make you crave more and more. This makes it very hard to stop snacking between meals. Too many snacks can lead to weight gain.
Why we constantly snack ?
Most of the snacks available are high in salt, fat and sugar. The combination of sweet and salty flavors makes our brain produce large amounts of dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that makes us feel rewarded with pleasure. As we finish eating, these levels go down and we instantly crave more; more pleasure AND more dopamine.
This is no coincidence and is a trick used by the food industry to make us crave more of the foods they manufacture and sell. Good for their profits but very bad for your weight!
Since these snacks don’t provide any nutritional value and don’t contain any fiber, we don’t feel satisfied and so we continue to feel hungry. But these snacks are high in calories from fat and sugar which can cause unwanted weight gain.
It’s a vicious circle: We crave more, we eat more, we don’t feel satisfied, we consume more calories than we should and blow our calorie intake in between meals. Even if you eat healthy meals, all those unhealthy snacks will cause weight gain.
How to fight constant snacking ?
Snacks are important and we should have snacks between meals. What we need is to be smarter when picking our snacks.
We have to pick snacks low in sugar, low in carbs, free from trans fats, and that contain fiber.
1. No added sugar snacks
2. Grab-and-Go Snacks – Protein Bars
Whether you work at home or in an office, sometime there simply isn’t time to prepare healthy snacks in advance. Protein bars are an easy and healthy snack that you can carry with you wherever you go that will fill you up for several hours.
3. Drink Water
Always have a bottle of water near you. The air in many offices is very dry because of air-conditioning. Drinking water helps you do hydrate and reduce your hunger.
4. Drink coffee or tea
Coffee is a natural appetite suppressant and a metabolism booster. Tea is also an effective appetite suppressant and reduces fat storage.
Both coffee and tea contain caffeine, so don’t drink too much – especially close to bedtime!
5. No processed foods around – Avoid temptation
Don’t have processed food snacks around you or in your house. If you have them you’ll always feel tempted. But, if you don’t have them nearby, you will forget about unhealthy snacks and focus on other things instead.
6. Complete main meals
Have nice healthy meals containing healthy fats, carbs and protein. Protein and good fats are healthy ways to make you feel fuller for longer periods, reducing the chances of snacking.
Avoid fast food and any type of processed food. These foods are high in calories, high in bad fat and high in sugar. They don’t make you feel full so you end up constantly craving more.
7. Have a high protein breakfast
Protein takes time to get processed by our body, making you feel full for a long period. Have a fresh fruit salad with kefir or a protein shake to start your day
8. Eat slowly
Taking time to chew food not only helps digestion but you’ll also feel full for longer.
9. Occupy yourself
Change your thoughts, focus on a task so you mind is occupied. Clean your house, go for a walk, call a friend, write an email or grab a book. Do anything other than sit around thinking about unhealthy snacks!