Over recent years snacking has become the 'thing to do'! Headlines in glossy magazines like 6 light meals better than 3 or lose weight via snacking can be very convincing. But it is worth stopping for a moment to have a look at what is going on.
The food industry is a very powerful lobby. It manages to convince governments that food produced in a laboratory (edible products as I call them) are just as good for us (even better maybe) than those grown in organic soil... that a crisp filled with fake ingredients can be as good for us as a nut.
This same food industry knows that no one is going to be at home to cook 6 meals a day. Let's face it, most people get 1-2 homemade meals a day maximum. So that leaves another 3-5 opportunities a day when we have to go and pick something up from a supermarket.... a breakfast bar, a sandwich, a granola yoghurt.... the industry is laughing all the way to their profits!
So 6 meals a day may be great for the booming snack food industry but is it good for me?
Just after eating our bodies need to concentrate on digesting the food we have given it, it focuses on our stomachs and intestines and in a well functioning body it can complete the main digestion process pretty efficiently without leaving us too tired. However after a heavy meal or when the digestion is sluggish we can sometimes feel an after-meal slump.
This can be mistaken as hunger and therefore people often reach for something else to give some more 'energy'. In doing so we are not giving the body the space and time it needs to fully digest.
Digesting is not the only thing our bodies need to do either - they need to pump the resources around our bodies, boost our immune systems and fight any free radicals that come in, control our hormones and reproductive system. If all we are expecting our bodies to do is digest all the time - when will it get the chance to do all that?
Give your body a break!
The periods of rest in between eating are just as important as our mealtimes. We need to give our bodies a break from ingesting food and let it do something else.
e also need to give our very efficient small intestine some time to clear out the last meal before we let the next one in (did you know that the sound of our tummy rumbling is just that... it means congratulations you have given your intestine time to clean itself out).
Next time before you reach for a habitual snack, ask yourself a few questions:
1) When was the last time I drank a glass of water? If not very recently then drink one before going to the next question!
2) Am I really hungry or do I just need a diversion (get up, stretch, walk, get some fresh air)
3) If the answer is yes I am really hungry - what can I eat that will not start playing havoc with my blood sugar - answer: a few nuts, a carrot with some hummus...
It's often a question of re-training ourselves into new habits and there may be times when a snack is needed. However making sure that your body has plenty of time to do all its other functions is essential for long-lasting energy and wellness.
It's time to give yourself a boost and not the snack industry.
What time of day does the snack habit hit you and what do you do about it?