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Snacking and Six Simple Snack Swaps

Trying to find decent, tasty and filling alternatives to sugary snacks and drinks can be quite challenging, but it doesn't have to be all air, popcorn and brown rice-cakes (not that I have anything against these things...I actually quite like them personally)!


It's easy to reach for the high sugar, high fat or salty snacks that are instantly uplifting! www.motivatedhealth.co.uk
It's easy to reach for the high sugar, high fat or salty snacks that are instantly uplifting! Stop and check-in with yourself first, are you REALLY hungry or do you just have a craving?

Below (see infographic) I have written down some of the snacks I eat if I really do need a snack, or if I haven't been hungry at breakfast time, but then get a bit peckish mid-morning. I try to make my main meals filling enough so I that I don't need to snack, but if I'm at risk of getting truly very hungry, then I will have a snack.


When it comes to peanut butter, obviously you need to know that you're not allergic to peanuts/nuts to start with, but secondly make sure you avoid the highly processed peanut butters that have lots of added sugars and other ingredients. The one I buy is 100% peanuts! The one I used to buy was a massive sugar hit and caused more of an issue with my appetite and cravings than it helped it, so shop carefully and look at the ingredients. Just don't buy a massive tub of the '100% peanuts' peanut butter because it does tend to go rancid if you don't eat it within the recommended time frame, whereas other peanut butters stay edible for longer because of all of the added, not so good stuff. Last word of caution...mind your serving size!


Peanut butter...the less ingredients the better, like most food! www.motivatedhealth.co.uk
Peanut butter...the less ingredients the better, like most food!

One of my other 'go-to' snacks houmous, can also have all sorts of 'added' ingredients, when it really doesn't need to. Be especially careful if it's a low fat version...it may not be as filling and may have added sugars to make up for the missing fat. Also, look at the serving size and remember that not all fat is 'bad'!


When it comes to yoghurt, I personally also like full fat, 'live', natural yoghurt, however find one that works for you. There's quite a few good options out there and everyone's tastes are different, so go experiment, and again, check the label! Obviously, this is not a great option if you're lactose intolerant so try something else.


Extra 'added' sugars are everywhere, with so many different names. Read the label carefully! www.motivatedhealth.co.uk
Extra 'added' sugars are everywhere, with so many different names. Read the label very carefully! If you're not sure on all of the names for sugar, send me an email and I'll get them to you.

Before you do reach for a snack, even if it is a healthy snack, check-in with yourself to make sure you are eating because you are actually hungry! Are you just thirsty? Are you stressed? Are you anxious? Are you bored? Are you worried or fearful about something? Are you experiencing emotions or feelings that you're trying to just block out?


Stress can caused increased cravings, play havoc with your hunger hormones (among others) and affect your digestion and gut microbiome! www.motivatedhealth.co.uk
Chronic stress can cause increased cravings, play havoc with your hunger hormones (among others) and affect your digestion and gut microbiome!

If it's any of the above and you get the craving, try to think about it, wait two minutes and re-evaluate. Use those two minutes to get a glass of water, or do a one to two minute breathing exercise or do a few squats or wall-presses. If you're truly hungry then in reality you'd be satisfied even with something bland (ok, maybe not mentally), not just that high energy biscuit, or freshly iced donut which will potentially leave you with a sugar crash not long later, starting the cycle all over again!


These things (highly processed, highly paletable foods) are not 'banned' per se, you can still eat them if you really want to, but think about it. If it's a habit, maybe it's one worth working on breaking? Are you fuelling your beautiful, amazing body effectively and treating it with love and nourishment? What does your gut truly tell you? These are the types of thoughts that helped me to start really thinking about my snacking habits, because often they're just that...habits!


Running the gauntlet of the coffee shop queue...maybe make your own coffee? What can you change about this situation? www.motivatedhealth.co.uk
Running the gauntlet of the coffee shop queue...maybe make your own coffee? What can you change about this situation?

If you're going to have a snack, make the most of it by eating mindfully. This can make a significant difference to satiety / feeling of satisfaction, and knowing when you're feeling full. It can also have a huge impact on your enjoyment of your food, so it's definitely worth practicing, and it does take practice! Just 'eating mindfully' isn't that easy, you need to work on it and develop it over time so that it becomes habit.


6 Healthy Snack Ideas Infographic - www.motivatedhealth.co.uk
6 Healthy Snack Ideas Infographic - my personal 'go-to' snacks if and when required

On the subject of hydration and drinking water, in order to make my water a little more interesting, I like to use a fruit infuser bottle if I'm out and about (a water bottle with a section at the bottom with a lemon squeezer attachment), and if I'm at home I use a big jug of water and just chuck in whatever I fancy. Sometimes I put in some berries, or lemon or lime, or some orange slices, or cucumber, maybe some fresh mint, or ginger etc. You can try whatever you like! I tend to drink a lot of plain water to and I'll always have a glass of water before I decide if I'm really hungry or not.


Try adding different fresh flavours to your water. www.motivatedhealth.co.uk
Try adding different fresh flavours to your water

One way to keep an eye on how hydrated (or not) you are is to look at your urine colour. The lighter it is, the better the indication that you are well hydrated, the darker it is, the more of an indication that you are dehydrated. This can have a huge impact on how your body functions, concentration, blood pressure, hunger levels and appetite, to name just a few.


There is a useful page with a bit more information on hydration from the NHS, including a urine colour chart, which can be found here.


High energy snacks that are easy to grab, eat mindlessly and give you a sugar-rush are a recipe for disaster! www.motivatedhealth.co.uk
High energy snacks that are easy to grab, eat mindlessly and give you a sugar-rush are a recipe for disaster!

Finally, food environment is key!!!! Change your environment and you won't have to rely on willpower which, to be honest, is always everyone's downfall because reliance on 'willpower' is just unsustainable, at least for many.


Do you keep a snack drawer, cupboard, jar or basket? Then it may be time to get-rid, reinvent or relocate it!?


Use your imagination, replace it with some healthier options, and/or snacks that need a little more work before just mindlessly consuming them, and preferably in a place that at least makes you get up and move around to get it.


Make 'snacking' a more mindful experience by not making it as easy (requires some preparation). www.motivatedhealth.co.uk
Make 'snacking' a more mindful experience by not making it as easy (requires some preparation)

Or if you're at work and need a late breakfast or no prep area, plan ahead! www.motivatedhealth.co.uk
Or if you're at work and need a late breakfast, have a protracted time between meals or no preparation area, plan ahead!

So, happy and healthy snacking everyone and stay hydrated!




Please note: This article is intended to be for educational purposes only, and does not constitute medical advice or replace professional assessment or personalised advice.

I do not hold responsibility for the information on any links to external websites within this article and information within these links/websites may change at any time or no longer be accessible. Any website pages/links added are also for education purposes only.

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