When I was at school, it was fine because I just wouldn't buy snacks and I wouldn't keep junk food in my apartment, so I never snacked. Now, at home, I don't want to ask my parents to stop buying snacks. it is their house. They are allowed to have whatever they want in their house.
So, here is what I have found when it comes to snacking. I talked a little bit about this when I talked about binging, but this is different. I am talking about snacking in general, even when you don't overeat. Snacking is actually supposed to be good for you. Supposedly, having about 5-6 small meals a day revs your metabolism. By constantly having your body in a state of digestion, it keeps your body burning calories.
For me, though, this is a problem. I have a medication I have to take on an empty stomach. When I first started running last summer, I would have small meals all day. I thought it really did help me. It kept me from overeating because I felt constantly satisfied. I really think snacking is a good idea if you do it right.
If you're like me, and you have a medicine that has to be taken on an empty stomach, try getting up earlier so you can start and finish your medicine earlier. Or, if you really don't want to get up earlier, try to hold out before bed. Now, I switched my schedule to later in the day, so I take my last pill right before bed. By waiting, I have noticed I am able to stop eating earlier because we have all heard that eating right before bed is worse for us than not snacking all day.
The key to snacking correctly is choosing the right snacks. ALWAYS choose healthy snacks. Try to only choose fruit earlier in the day (before dinner) so you have all day to process the sugars. Try to choose snacks/small meals that are well-balanced so you avoid cravings. If you crave something sweet, but you know you're going to want something salty, too, try something with peanut butter and honey so you not only get good fats and filling protein, but you get a little salty and a little sweet. Honey and PB make a great apple dip.
If you space out your snacks/small meals every three to four hours, you're more likely to feel satisfied, so you avoid snacking between these other periods. For some people, it works best to plan out their meal times, so they know when they are going to eat so they have that time to look forward to. They also know what they are going to eat and when so they can get their taste buds oriented to what they are about to eat, so they can begin craving that food instead of something else that would cause them to snack unhealthily.
For me, the easiest thing to do is give myself little bits here and there when I don't have to watch my medicine schedule. If I want something sweet, I take a handful of Honey Nut Cheerios and snack on it. I NEVER eat out of the box and I NEVER leave the box or bag lying around in an easy to access place. Both are sure ways to over snack.
Of course, if you have the willpower, sometimes NOT snacking is the best. If you KNOW you're going to overeat and beat yourself up about it, try to do something else, like take a walk, to distract yourself.
Now, I am going to try to follow my own advice, even though I know I am going to continue craving snacks ALL DAY no matter how full I am.
What healthy snacks do you like? I need some new suggestions!
Or, what unhealthy snacks can't you live without? (I know we should all eat healthy but every once in a while I need to break open a pack of poptarts!) Maybe we can come up with healthy alternatives together! Let me know! (: