Snacking often proves to be a huge banana skin when it comes to making weight loss progress.
In fact, one of my biggest takeaways from answering our members’ weekly check-ins was seeing how many Improvers have been struggling with their diets lately.
In particular, the dreaded ‘S’ word was rearing its ugly head in nearly all of the emails I received.
Before we start addressing tactics for snacking, I think it is important for us to all define what it actually is.
In a bid to understand this, I asked the internet what a snack was.
Unfortunately, all I could find was that it was actually spelled ‘snacc’ and that I wasn’t apparently one of them.
Now that I have lost half my audience with that classic, let’s move on.
A snack is any food or drink that is consumed outside of your planned meal times.
What is the key word here?
I think where we often get lost is that we don’t have a plan.
So, think of this less like a shopping list and more like a blueprint.
A blueprint that you can go back to and switch in your favourite foods, and your desired goals, to enable you to have a better relationship with ‘snacking’ in your life.
But what is the common theme in them all?
We gotta have a plan.
I know you know, and you know that I know you know.
But yes, portion control is still the answer when somebody wants to have their cake and eat it.
It is that unsexy, adult voice in our head that keeps us away from all the fun in life:
“Yes, Calum dearest. You can have some of that Caramel Log but only if you have hit your protein target and you keep under your calories for the day.”
Often, we crave very high-sugar, high-fat foods that do very little to fill us up.
The difficulty here lies in the ability to keep within our designated portion size.
Portion control can be considered the high risk, high reward method.
In theory, we get to taste our unadulterated sweet treat of choice in all it’s utmost glory.
Yet it can lead to us finishing it all in a matter of seconds, leaving us feeling unfulfilled, disappointed and even a little sticky.
As such, I recommend this method in the following situations:
- It is not your favourite snack.
- If it keeps you within your calorie/macronutrient goals for the day/week.
- It is something you can do regularly without going over the set portion.
One of the biggest issues with snacking is that some of us lack a little bit of impulse control.
And hey, I am not judging here.
Tunnocks Caramel Logs have been known to disappear in my presence with an efficiency that David Copperfield could only dream of.
For the benefit of my dieting goals – and as the conclusion of Tunnocks vs Hunter, 2005 – I must remain at least 200 feet from all Caramel Log production lines at any given time.
In all seriousness, a lot of people will have problem foods that are the main reason that they overindulge in calories.
For me, I can enjoy small portions of some indulgent snacks but unfortunately, I just can’t do that with biscuits.
As such, it is easier to keep them out of the house than regularly finding myself in a constant mental battle of ‘will I or won’t I?’
As you read this, you are probably aware of the snack that gives you the most problems.
So, if that’s the case then maybe your life would actually be much healthier and happier if you did not regularly find yourself gorging on it.
And even if the time comes where you are feeling surly at the lack of curly wurly, then of course we simply restrict the calories through the week so we can pig out a little at the weekend.
Temporary abstinence can be the most helpful method when:
- It is your ‘favourite/problem’ snack
- There is an end date to the abstinence, ie holiday
For the last strategy, let me get on my Personal Trainer™ sports goggles, pull on my sporting tracksuit bottoms and grab my tupperware, for we have hit the most ‘gymfam’ option there is.
The teenage fitness guru that was myself a decade ago would probably laugh at some of the snacks I have today.
“Protein yoghurt! Pah! Your ancestors laugh at you as they did not need to have whey protein to kill the dinosaurs.”
My understanding of Paleolithic eras was not particularly strong when I was 17.
Or 27 for that matter.
Anyhoo, there is a totally different option that does equate to tiny portions of food or complete avoidance of snacking.
This is known as the ‘healthy alternative.’
As each day goes by, we have more ‘high protein, low cal’ versions of our household favourites, often appearing on the virtual ‘supermarket shelves.’
For a lot of people, myself included, this can give that little dollop of comfort into our diets that keeps our literal heart healthy whilst keeping the metaphorical one smiling.
Most days, I find myself sitting quietly with a cup of tea in one hand, and a protein bar in the other.
I am such a PT nowadays, aren’t I?
At first, it may have seemed like a sorry excuse for a Caramel Log but now, I prefer my ‘Caramel Chaos’ to any other form of ‘dippable’ biscuit.
The one little caveat to ‘healthier alternatives’ is that you have to make sure they actually are healthier.
I may have a soft spot for Nutella but I have seen it described as a ‘high protein’ breakfast option, as it was scraped on toast for 12g of protein.
Of course, the shorthand in the corner said that the piece of toast made up 10 of those 12g of protein.
So, before you go mental and buy every protein alternative in sight, have a read up on what you are actually consuming first.
Just remember the saying: “If you don’t wait to see what low-cal means, it often means Cal’s weight don’t get low.”
Your own name might make a better saying than mine.
Use a healthier alternative snack when:
- You want the snack to become a part of your daily diet
- You have found an alternative that you enjoy
It would be easy for me to list a whole load of snacks that might tickle the taste buds without scaring the scales.
But as with all things food related, taste is such a subjective thing.
Instead, I hope these ‘three strategies for healthier snacking’ can set you on the right foot and help you start getting back into a healthier routine.
And remember, it is not a choice of which strategy to go for.
Most days, I have a little portion of butter in my eggs, I keep away from soft drinks and I have a protein bar instead of a biscuit.
A ‘bit of this and a bit of that’ is often the true recipe for success when it comes to any happy diet.
We’d love to help you figure out a plan of attack fto help you feel better.
If you’d also like that, you can get register your interest in working with us by clicking here.