Snacking after work
Snacking After Work
How many of you are sneaky treat eaters? Snacking after work can be a hard habit to break.
Hands up if you come home from work and find you just have to eat something. While you’re checking post or emails, you grab a biscuit (maybe two?) from the kitchen counter.
And then you find the last bag of crisps on the kitchen counter. Salt and vinegar isn’t your favourite flavour but it will fill a space before dinner. Before you know it, you find yourself munching them and guiltily hiding the bag at the bottom of the kitchen bin.
I’ve even had days where I’ll come in the door and notice Mark (my husband) has left something out, and I’m like: ‘now I fancy that’. And I wasn’t even hungry!
We’ve all been there - something about coming home just seems to make the carb munchies kick in. Call it a reward for getting through the day, or just that feeling that dinner is still two hours away.
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Why are you snacking after work?
It’s almost unconscious and it’s amazing how many of us don’t even admit to anyone but ourselves that we do it. I’m not the food police - so I’m not saying don’t snack.
Your blood sugar could have dipped and that’s actually a good reason why your body is craving food. Plus, it’s never a good idea to have big gaps between meals, so if you haven’t eaten since lunch at 1pm and dinner isn’t until 7pm, you probably do need to eat.
But if you’re working hard to eat well, this absent minded grazing can really derail your efforts and spike your sugar levels. The good news is you can trick your brain into going for the healthier options rather than the classic high carb pick me ups of biscuits, sweets and crisps.
You can read all about healthier snacks HERE. But what you want is something that’s small, with a bit of protein or fat that’s just going to keep your blood sugars stable without spiking it and making you want to crave other things. Some toasted nuts, cucumber and hummus or celery and peanut butter would be better.
How to break the snacking after work habit
Here’s three ways to tackle sneaky after work snacking. Basically, our brains are lazy and will generally always go for the easiest option.
Use that to your advantage...
Don’t have the ‘bad stuff’ on show
It definitely helps if your snack food of choice is not out on display for you to see, so try setting up your environment to support you.
Research has shown that the harder we make it to eat the snacks, the less of it we eat. Put away the foods that you don’t want to eat and make it difficult to get at that food, for example, put biscuits on a top shelf so you have to go and grab a chair to actually get them. Sometimes that’s just enough to give you that thinking space to ask yourself “do I actually want it?”
It’s that conscious thing of being more aware, of asking yourself the question - do I really want this or is this just a habit that whenever I come in from work I always have a biscuit?
Make the foods you want to eat easy to find and eat
The flip side of #1 - make the healthier foods much easier to eat.
Pre-prepare healthier snacks and put this food at eye level in the fridge and visible. You could prepare hummus and your carrots and put them on a shelf in the fridge, or put a tub of seeds out on the side so that it’s the first thing you see.
You could have a bowl of fruit already prepped in the fridge. At the moment the blackberries and strawberries are beautiful so have some of those just to grab when you come in. We will usually go for the easiest option so if food is already prepped and ready to eat then it’s less effort for you to have this rather than making yourself something from scratch.
Don’t buy your personal snack foods in the first place.
This might sound a bit hard core and I’ll admit it’s tricky if you share a house with people who like buying those snacks.
But awareness is the key strategy in tackling snacking after work. The more aware you are of your triggers, the more likely you are to be able to deal with them.
Remember, we’re lazy at heart!
If it’s not in the house, we’re actually much less likely to be bothered to go out of the house and buy it. If we just want to eat something that gives us comfort when we come in, the hassle of going out to get it will put us off.
I know for many of my clients not buying the food in the first place is the only thing that works. If it’s in the house it’s calling to them from the cupboards and the cookie jar and they can’t resist!
I know you’ve probably heard it before, but it’s true: if you’re going to have something when you come in from work, it's better to have something intentional.
Have it on a plate, sit down, have it with a drink and ENJOY it! :)
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