Last night as I was riding my citibike home, I stopped by Fairway to pick up some groceries for the week. I still am amazed at the quantity of food that’s in this basement supermarket and how easily you can find great bargains on healthy ingredients. It was also very difficult to not fill up my basket on everything because, let me be honest, everything looked appetizing to me. From the aisle of chips to the aisle of sweets to the aisle of “healthy snacks” to the wall of buffet-style nuts and chocolate containers, I used all my will-power to walk away.
First, let me just say, if your snacks comes pre-processed, there’s a better alternative. Don’t believe the advertising you find on the box label, anything that has a long shelf life and doesn’t take any prep time has ingredients you are better off not consuming – sodium, preservatives, processed sugar, you get the point. So what should I eat as snacks? The answer is this, if you can avoid it, then eliminate it altogether.
Train your body so that it only truly signals you to eat when it’s meal time. Eat enough at each meal so that there is no need for in-between munching. The more used to that sensation of eating, the more you think about it and then it becomes routine. Snacks also cause you to be less hungry when it’s actually time to eat. Isn’t that a good thing? No, because you actually want to BE hungry! Let’s break down the concept of snacking. The need to snack can be traced to this innate or learned mentality that we should never be hungry, even to the extent that people are afraid of being hungry.
If you’re hungry, then healthy food (veggies, lean meat, legumes, whole grains) taste delicious! Eating healthy is such a chore! Burgers and fries and steaks taste so much better than salads and lentils. But actually, ANYTHING taste good when you’re truly hungry. If you don’t believe me, try this. (I am in no way saying this is healthy, so only do it if you can’t take my word for it) Drink only water for 36 hours. Eat a bowl of mixed green salad with grilled chicken (or legumes) and lemon juice dressing. You get just as much satisfaction out of that as eating a burger on a normal day. That’s the feeling you should get during each meal.
You’re not going to know how much your body actually need to hold you over from meal to meal, so just adjust the portion and food until you eliminate the need to snack completely and healthy food start tasting delicious. When that happens, it becomes easier for you to accept healthier eating habits. Food should be the building blocks for our body to function as efficiently as we can. If you feed your body the right food, it’s going to stop craving the wrong food.
Now, you don’t have to eliminate “snack food” like fruits and nuts. Incorporate them into your meals. Put them on top of a salad. Blend them into your morning smoothie. Just stay away from “dried fruits”, why substitute the real thing?
Say goodbye to those “healthy snacks”!