Attack of the Snack Monster (And How to Win!)by Elise Museles
Does this sound familiar? You eat at noon. Then, you spend the rest of your hectic day at work or rushing from place to place. By the time dinner rolls around, you’re nearly catatonic. Your blood sugar drops. Your clarity and ability to make basic decisions evaporates. You wander from cupboard to pantry to fridge to cupboard (again), on the hunt for SOMETHING to eat.
The chips talk to you. The box of cereal sings its siren song. Isn’t there some Ben & Jerry’s left? Handfuls of cheese are in your mouth… the crackers are crumbing onto the floor like wood chips at a lumber mill… and you don’t really understand what hit you as you take one hurried bite after another. All you know is that there’s a huge hunger hole inside of you, and you need to fill it NOW.
And then you remember your good intention: cook a healthy meal tonight.
Guilt. More guilt. Tomorrow is another day.
The Snack Monster Strikes Back
The simple secret to beating the Snack Monster at its own game: PLAN MORE! You really know what to do and you actually think about it, but something gets lost in translation.
Here are 3 more strategies to smarter snacking:
1. Add ONE superstar snack – One of my favorite concepts is “crowding out.” Instead of focusing on removing ALL less-than-healthy snacks (which can feel like a HUGE task!), add one better choice. This is the ideal time to get in an extra serving of fruits and veggies. Some of my favorite go-to snacks are as simple as it gets:
- A handful of almonds and a gorgeous green apple
- A spoonful of nut butter or hummus with crunchy crudités
- A colorful nutrient-dense smoothie
Once you add a NEW snack you love, there will be less room for more sinister options.
2. Set up a snack “cache” – To make healthier, more nourishing choices, you’ve got to plan ahead. If you work outside your home or are leaving for an extended period of time, throw some trail mix in a bag before you head out the door. Make sure you have frozen berries and plant-based milk (like almond or coconut) in the fridge for smoothies. (Bonus points if you add greens into the mix.) Cut up some veggies in advance for a quick grab and go as you run out. Having stashes of great snacks available will make it much easier for you to make awesome choices when hunger strikes.
3. Make a distinction between meals & snacks – Performance really does rely on your ability to give your body the fuel and nutrients it needs! If you find yourself “snacking” through your day instead of sitting down for meals, I warmly invite you to check out the Kale & Chocolate Cookbook, up on the right hand side of this page. It’s free, and you’ll get some great ideas about simple and delicious dishes (and some snacks, too!) that will compliment any meal.
When you pick the right snacks, you put an end to sugar highs and crashing lows. You cut irritable, irrational behavior off at the pass. And you become a calmer, more even-keeled person, who comes home after a full day with grounded energy and a steady mind.
Question of the day: What are some of YOUR favorite snack ideas?
We’d like to know! Post them in the comments below.