Weight-loss culture has many people believing that the less often they eat, the more fat they’ll lose – amirite? This has created a stigma around snacking. If you’re uncomfortable with the word ‘snack’, think of it as a mini meal or simply as a fuel stop – something to keep you going until you get to the main meal so you can stay on track and reach your goals. When the day drags on (and you’re practically falling asleep at your desk), or when it’s three o’clock and you still have the whole dinner-bath-bed routine to get through with the kids, you need a little something to sustain your mood and energy. And you know what? That’s totally fine — more than fine. It’s actually really important to refuel, as that improves performance, mood and concentration.
Unfortunately, many people defer to sugar-stuffed packaged snacks, junk food and sodas for their in-between meal snacks. Such foods have little to no nutritional value. However, there are plenty of delicious healthy alternatives. Here are six mantras to help you practise mindful snacking (no cross-legged meditation, incense sticks or crystals required – though I do love all those things).
Here are Tiff Hall's mantras for mindful snacking:
1. Go like a snail
It takes about 20 minutes after a meal for your brain to register that you’re full. Eating slowly gives your brain time to realise you’re satisfied and this prevents you from slamming down that whole batch of bliss balls.
2. Tune into your tummy and listen to your gut
We often listen to our minds or feed our emotions without tuning in to our bellies. If your stomach is rumbling, you’ve just smashed a workout or you’re in between meals, you’ll probably be a bit peckish. So listen to your body and see if it’s your mind or belly talking.
3. Eat sitting down
When we snack on the go, we’re more likely to eat mindlessly – most of the time we forget we even ate. Sitting down (even for a minute) allows you to enjoy the physical act of eating and reap the benefits of a mini mental recharge.
4. Remember that excess sugar and salt are no good for you
Potato chips and packaged muesli bars are not snacks – they are energy zappers. Instead feed your hunger with wholesome and nutritious homemade snacks to curb sugar cravings and keep you satisfied.
5. Make friends with your snack and form a bond!
Now, you don’t need to get too deep, but do take a moment to consider where each ingredient comes from (the farmer who grew it, the animal it came from, the process involved in growing or harvesting that ingredient). Mentally putting the ingredients together will help you appreciate just how much effort goes into every bite.
6. Don't struggle to juggle your snack as well as a hundred other tasks
Sometimes this is impossible – I get it! But if you can, try not to multitask while snacking: put the phone down, don’t look at work emails, take a break from washing up and just enjoy the single act of snacking.
For more from healthy eating tips from Tiff, visit TIFFXO
Images and text from Snack Power by Tiffiny Hall ($32.99, Murdoch Books). Photography by Brent Parker Jones, portrait photography by Jeremy Simons.