Snacking is a good way to keep hunger at bay, but as we’re learning while reading Mindless Eating this month’s book club book, snacking can also pack on the pounds. While 1 serving of baby carrots is only 35 calories, the entire bag is 175! and yes, I once mindless munched through an entire bag of carrots while checking my email.
In Mindless Eating, the author suggests having a plan in place: Putting your snack in a bowl and walking away from the kitchen... rather than just taking the whole bag or container with you to your desk, couch, etc. See? That’s where I went wrong. I could have just grabbed a handful of carrots and put the bag away but instead I brought the whole bag to my desk.
I’m a snacker and I know it, so I always have fresh fruit and vegetables on hand. If I see them, and they’re available to me, I’ll eat them over other “snacks” that are not as fresh or healthy. (Most convenience snacks are pretty junky and high in calories). A cup of strawberries is less than 50 calories and can satisfy my sweet tooth anytime. I also love baby carrots, as demonstrated above.
We also usually make a batch of Granola Bars (pg. 23, EHH) or Crispy Tortilla Sticks (pg. 239, HHC) for snacks too. Whether it's hiking or snowboarding, the Granola Bars are a great for outdoor activities too.
My sister also has another approach: she drinks a glass of water before getting a snack. She said it was a habit she picked up when she was dieting before - someone told her that most people are not familiar with their body and can mistake thirst for hunger so she should drink a glass of water and wait 10 minutes to see if she is still hungry.
Snacking can also be an easy way to gain weight if you want. My sister has a friend whose son is extremely underweight because of a medical condition. He is constantly eating high-fat snacks (like nuts) with the purpose of trying to gain weight.
I find when I include whole grains in my meal, such as brown rice or quinoa, or starches like sweet potatoes, I stay full longer and usually don't need a snack between meals.