6 Bad Snacking Habits That Will Sabotage Your Diet
Admit it, a life without snacks is one of despair and emptiness. Snacking is a great way to keep hunger at bay in between meals, especially if that miserly portion at lunch didn’t fill you up just right. In fact, snacking can help to rev up our metabolism and prevent us from overeating at our next meal.
As always, benefits always come with a pesky ‘but’. While snacking is effective as a temporary way of curbing hunger, this seemingly innocent act comes with many potential pitfalls. How did you end up with an empty cookie jar when you just wanted a snack?
To reap the benefits that come with snacking, one has to be strategic to avoid any potential traps. Read on to find out about the common snacking mistakes that people often make, which eventually causes the numbers on the scale to go up.
1. You’re confused between ‘snack’ and ‘treat’
Between the two terms ‘snack’ and ‘treat’ lies a dangerously thin line that most people cross obliviously. The former serves the purpose of keeping your hunger at bay between meals, while the latter is often incredibly indulgent and unforgiving on the waistline.
Definitely, there is no huge sin in munching on chocolate chip cookies from time to time; but if this morphs into a daily habit, all the warning bells in your head should be ringing.
Snacking on a handful of almonds or fruits will satiate your hunger more effectively as compared to stuffing your face with chocolate chip cookies that will only bring you on a sugar high and leave you craving for more.
2. You snack while multi-tasking
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As you nestle comfortably into the couch and your favourite telly programme starts running, you just can’t shake off the feeling that something’s off. A lightbulb flashes in your head and you head over to your pantry to grab a bag of chips, before settling back onto the couch.
This situation can also be known as mindless snacking – which is a pitfall that most suffer from. When you snack while focusing your attention on another activity, you tend to lose track of how much you’ve eaten. After a handful here and a nibble there, you’ve got yourself an empty bag of jumbo-sized chips – and a lot more calories on your waistline.
Instead of eating directly from the bag, portion your snacks wisely by pouring it into a bowl. This prevents you from unconsciously reaching for seconds.
3. You drink your snacks
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Green smoothies, I’m talking about you. Green smoothies seem to be a promising snack, especially with veggies in the mix – but how ‘green’ is your green smoothie? Once you take into account the other healthy ingredients such as fruits, protein powder and nuts, the calories increase tremendously.
Gulping down hundreds of calories becomes an effortless feat, and this makes you at risk of exceeding your daily intake limit. If you’re going to make your green smoothies hearty with extra ingredients, then have it in place of a meal instead.
4. You fall into the ‘Health Halo’ trap
The Health Halo effect is the act of overestimating the healthfulness of an item based on a single claim, such as low calories or fat. Even if you’ve gotten the right idea on what kind of food to snack on, it’s easy to let their impressive health profiles make you feel like you have the liberty to eat more.
However, just because these snacks are chock-full of healthy ingredients, doesn’t mean that you can eat without restraint. As full of fibre as granola bars are, the high amount of sugar they contain can completely reverse your diet if you’re not careful. Exercise portion control even with nutritious snacks, especially when it comes to high-calorie ones like nuts, dried fruits and avocados.
5. You slather healthy snacks in fat traps
For the majority of us, a stick of celery is simply a bright green vehicle to transport decadent dips, such as ranch or cheese, into our mouths. As we polish off the tenth sauced spear, we can’t help but feel proud of ourselves for consuming so much veggies in a day.
While there is a certain truth to that statement, we’re also chowing down a whole lot of saturated fat, sodium and calories. If you just can’t stand the icky taste of celery, opt for healthier dips such as hummus which are packed full of flavour, protein and fibre without all the additional calories.
6. You wait too long before snacking
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Snacks are meant to serve the purpose of satiating our hunger between meals so that we won’t overeat at the dinner table – but if you prolong your snacking for too long, all of it might just backfire. You might be so famished that you’ll reach for the fastest and easiest snack, which coincidentally always turns out to be the most unhealthy one.
To prevent this from occurring, schedule regular snack times and stick to them, so that you won’t fall down the spiral of binge-eating.
And there you have it – the 6 usual mistakes that people make when it comes to snacking. Take note of these pitfalls the next time you reach for something to munch on and launch a counteroffensive if you find yourself falling into these traps!
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Shirley is a writing intern at ShopBack who has an unhealthy obsession with fashion, resulting in her shopping online too often for her own good. She has come to terms with the fact that that is probably the sole reason for her depleting bank account balance. She also dances (or rather, flails her limbs around unsuccessfully) in her free time to take her mind off things and also bring some excitement into her otherwise mundane life.
When she’s not dancing or shopping, she is thinking of what to eat for her next meal.