By: Sasheera Mehrani
Eating is a habitual process, a requirement needed to thrive. Snacking, however, is a pastime, something we enjoy doing; some of us, a little too much. But, what is the difference between healthy, mindful eating and mindless consumption?
Mindful snacking is our awareness of healthy eating, and therefore, we are conscious of what we eat, why we are eating it and how it makes us feel. However, mindless eating is a bad habit we develop when we fail to consider the nutritious value of the snack we are eating and the intention of eating it.
To avoid carefree, baseless snacking consider this:
- What is the purpose of eating this? Is it to fulfil a function?
- Is this particular snack considered a break in my day?
- Is snacking easier because food is available?
- Is this snack considered a reward for my efforts?
Once you determine the need to snack, you can decide on what to snack to meet your needs.
The first is to ask, “What do I feel like snacking on?”
For instance, do you feel for something sweet, savoury, salty, or something with texture, like something soft or crunchy? Or perhaps you feel for something cold or hot, depending on the weather or mood? Once you decide on something to eat, portion your meal and savour the bite, taste and aroma. Take your time when eating because this way you can enjoy the snack, and prevent the need to overeat.
What are the benefits of mindful snacking?
Mindful snacking leads to healthier food choices and a better lifestyle. Snacking without planning what you eat can lead to overeating. Watching TV or gaming while snacking only increases the desire to snack even more.
It helps to rule out distractions such as the use of electronic devices (cell phones, laptops and tablets) to ensure snack time is free of electronics so you can savour your meals. Finally, move away from a workspace or television area to prevent senseless snacking. Snack portions must also be considered. So breaking up portion sizes lessens the risk of overeating.
With mindful eating, you can reap the rewards of which include a healthier immune system, stronger bones, healthy teeth, skin and eyes and a lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.
How mindful are you?
Healthy snacking means you have excluded foods that contain trans-fats, excess sugar and salt. Instead, snacking on foods that are enriched with nutrients, including vegetables of different colours, you can perform optimally during the day. Eating vegetables and other foods in sizeable portions naturally lowers your blood pressure, alleviates digestive problems and prevents stroke and heart disease.
By snacking when you need to, you can stay full for longer, reduce discomfort from digestive concerns and practice healthy eating for a satisfying lifestyle.