How to rein in your working from home snack habit
Tight waistband, extra corona kilos and a feeling that your work from home snacking is out of control?
You're not alone. Many of my regular nutrition clients are reporting the same issues, so let's start the week right with my tips on blitzing your snacking habit.
A snack should be thought of as a "mini meal" - a mix of food that is substantial enough to keep you full and satisfied for at least a couple of hours.
Common snacks we grab such as muffins, biscuits, packets of crackers and chips are highly processed and full of carbohydrates that are digested relatively quickly. We are left unsatisfied, craving more sweet food and more likely to overeat in general. A predictable eating cycle, and soon enough a real habit.
Every time you boil the kettle, grab a coffee or even sit at the desk you are looking for something to eat.
Nutritionally, a well-balanced snack should contain 100-200 calories along with some protein and/or dietary fibre to slow digestion and keep you fuller for longer after eating.
This includes cheese and crackers, nuts and fruit, a protein based nut or snack bar.
Whether or not you need to snack is largely individual. For active people who eat breakfast early and are genuinely hungry midmorning, a snack may be warranted. For many others who do not eat breakfast until 8 or 9am, it is unlikely a snack is required prior to lunchtime.
For most people, the longest period of time in between meals is that between lunch and dinner, and as such a 3-4pm top up, if hunger is experienced, will help prevent late afternoon binge eating.
Very few of us genuinely need to snack after dinner, and as such if you must eat extra food throughout the evening, low calorie foods are best.
In an ideal world, we would eat when we are hungry and stop when we are full, but let's be honest, this is easier said than done, especially when you find yourself within easy reach of the fridge.
If you know you are guilty of mindless munching, knowing your lower calorie options is one way to help manage non-hungry snacking. Popcorn, herbal tea, piccolo coffees, berries, low calorie hot chocolates and verge sticks are all options that will satisfy your need to chew, minus too many extra calories.
Most importantly, if your goal is to reduce snacking, the key is to avoid keeping tempting foods in the home. It has been shown that one of the strongest predictors of discretionary or "extra" food consumption is availability. This means that if you keep biscuits, chocolates, lollies and other treats at home, you will eat them. So basically if you do not buy it, it is difficult to eat it and one of the easiest ways to control high calorie snacking.
ZUCCHINI & WALNUT BREAD
2 cups self-raising flour
1 tsp. Bicarbonate soda
2/3 cup brown/caster sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla essence
2-3 zucchinis, grated
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped as preferred
1 cup low fat milk
1 tbsp. light olive oil
1. Line a loaf tin with baking paper.
2. Mix flour, bicarbonate of soda, sugar, cinnamon, grated zucchini and walnuts in a bowl then add the eggs, milk and oil.
3. Spoon into the loaf tin and bake at 180°C for 50-60 minutes until cooked through.
GREEN PEA HUMMUS WITH VEG
2 cups frozen peas
1 tbsp. tahini
1 garlic clove
1/4 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. mint
Juice of 1 lemon
Pinch of salt, to taste
4 cups of your preferred vegetables for serving (such as carrots, cucumber, green beans, red capsicum etc), cut into sticks.
1. In a saucepan of boiling water, blanch the peas.
2. Place the peas and all remaining ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
3. Serve a quarter of the hummus along with one cup of vegetables for an afternoon snack.
Go online to smartdaily.com.au for my delicious snack recipes.
Originally published as How to rein in your working from home snack habit