Mindful Snacking 101
Cut Snacking, Eliminate the Quarantine Fifteen, and Take Control of your Cravings
Today our local Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Stephanie Mason, shines some light on the Quarantine Fifteen and mindful snacking!
Are you someone who is considered a food grazer? You tend to catch yourself having little bites of food here and there, never feeling quite satisfied after a meal. The phrase “quarantine fifteen” is becoming ever so popular. If this sounds like you, you’re probably dealing with a blood sugar imbalance and you snack to fuel those cravings and energy crashes. I’m going to give you five tips to help you cut the grazing and fuel your body for optimal energy, satiety, and health.
Tip one: Make sure you’re getting enough protein, fat, and fiber at your meals. Having the right portions of macronutrients at your meals will allow you to feel fuller longer and won’t have you reaching for a snack an hour later. How do you know how much protein, fat, carbs, and fiber to have? The truth is this looks a little different for everyone. It may take some practice playing with different portions of protein or healthy fats to figure out how much you need at a meal to truly feel full. A good starting place could be to use your hand as a reference point. Try a hand size portion of protein, two thumb sizes worth of fat, a fist size portion of carbohydrates, and unlimited greens!
Tip two: Focus on eating nutrient dense whole foods. Have you ever noticed being hungry after finishing things like a bag of chips or a candy bar? That’s because these foods are highly processed and are not highly nutrient dense. Meaning, they are typically high in refined carbohydrates. These foods will not keep you full. Instead of focusing on solely eliminating processed foods, I like to think of adding in MORE whole foods. Whole foods are items that don’t have a long list of ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, poultry, seafood, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
Tip three: Stay hydrated. I know we have all heard this one before, but it is so important! Making sure we stay adequately hydrated cuts the risk of having intense cravings. Water needs vary from person to person but a general rule of thumb is to shoot for half your body weight in ounces a day. It could be helpful to up this number if you’re a caffeine drinker.
Tip 4: Slow it down, focus, and chew your food. Are you a fast eater? Or maybe you eat your meals distracted, texting your friend, or sitting in front of the TV screen. Experiment with taking a break from the busyness of the world to sit down and enjoy your meal. Even better, enjoy your meal with your family or friends. Put the fork down between bites. Try to shoot for 20 bites per chew to ensure you’re breaking that food down into small bites. This will allow you to digest your food slower, and help you stay satiated a bit longer.
Tip 5: If you need a snack, keep the sugar at a reasonable number. Now, to be clear, there is nothing wrong with wanting to have a snack. If you need something to eat between meals like most people, try to keep the sugary snacks to a minimum. Sugar is a quick digesting carb, meaning it will give you that burst of energy you’re looking for, but it will also come with a crash. Try to keep sugar to a minimum, and if you do have sugar try to balance it with a healthy fat or protein to help slow down the absorption process.