Grabbing a bar of chocolate or opening a packet of chips when you are stressed out is easy and more often an instinctive reaction. However, these little treats often lead to the scale going up on the weighing machine. Apart from weight gain, unhealthy cholesterol and fats will cause more harm to your cardiac and circulatory cycle. If you don’t want to put on extra pounds or wouldn’t want your hours in the gym to go futile then you will have to curb stress eating. Here are a few ways that will help you to cut down on unhealthy snacking.
The worst way to stop stress eating is to completely stop snacking. Instead, look for healthier alternatives like dry fruits or baked snacks. Entirely starving yourself when you want to stress eat might make you irritable and make it difficult to focus on the task at hand. Healthy snacks will help you to calm down your taste buds and will also keep you from gaining weight.
Watch out for stress eating vs. hunger pangs
While it’s okay to grab a snack or two when those uninvited hunger pangs come to you, stress eating, on the other hand, may not be hunger pangs. Don’t mistake the two. Stress eating is a momentary pleasure with few calories or sugar punch and it may interfere with your appetite during meal times and may also slow down your metabolism. The best way to know if you are stress eating or having a hunger pang is by measuring the time between when you feel the cravings and your previous meal. There should be at least a gap of two hours between the two, any time frame less than that means that you may be stress eating. Also, notice when you feel like snacking. If you are reaching out to your kitchen or pantry cabinet every time you are stressed out or tensed then it’s best to consider such snacking as stress eating and not hunger pangs.
While snacking between meals is okay; indulging is not. Don’t have snacks for lunch or dinner or right before meals. This will lead to a loss of appetite during meal times and stronger cravings later. Once your meal time gets disturbed, it affects your metabolism as well. Hence, even if you are snacking between meals, be mindful of the portions so that you don’t disturb your regular appetite.
Every time you pick up something to eat, think how it is going to benefit your body. Don’t randomly pick anything off the shelf while working or watching series. Being mindful and watching each and every bite will automatically lead you to shift to healthier alternative and better eating habits
Drink enough water
Sometimes you may mistake your body’s want for water with hunger. Dehydration instigates cravings. Hence, whenever you feel hungry take a sip of water before grabbing that snack. If you have a designated time for snacking, then you may not want to try this. However, for those of you suffering from frequent cravings, dehydration could be one of the factors.
Snacking in between meals is not unhealthy. In fact, if you give yourself healthy and adequate snack breaks then your metabolism will speed up. However, if you snack the wrong way then it’ll do the exact opposite and will lead to bloating and weight gain. Unhealthy snacking will also disrupt your blood sugar levels.
Whether it’s dry fruit bars or puff corns fill your snack bag with some healthy munchies and give your body the necessary nutrition.
Komal Patil is a business management graduate finding purpose through words, writing stories and poems.