Five healthy snack-happy habits you can form without feeling deprived
This article was brought to you by Twinings Digest, a part of the New Twinings Live Well range
Snacking between meals, even balanced meals, is the quickest way to undo healthy eating plans entirely. As we tend to snack impulsively, we go for easy-to-access, processed foods. Not only does this type of snacking throw your energy levels out of whack, fuelling the fire of the 3 pm slump, it can also disrupt your digestion and derail even the most established eating habits.
But there’s no need to avoid snacking – it can be part of a healthy diet. It only takes a few easy tweaks to transition from impulsive and unhealthy habits to a balanced snack schedule.
As with most things, it’s easier to form sustainable habits when you pay attention to the natural rhythms of your body and go with it. If you always crash in the afternoon and crave snacks, that’s your body’s way of telling you what it needs.
Bear in mind: listening to your cravings will only work long-term if you plan ahead. Don’t leave it until you’re irritable and hangry to choose a snack – that’s a surefire recipe for giving in to the cookie jar. If you snack prep, the same as you would meal prep, you’ll have thoughtful, healthy snacks ready ahead of time. With a little planning, responding to your snack cravings will become part of a balanced diet instead of an accidental sugar-fest.
Help your tummy out at the 3 pm-mark by bulking up your tea collection with some herbal options. Tea is the perfect choice for a drink between meals because it’s satisfying but not heavy like coffee or milky drinks.
Some herbal teas have a history of digestive use, with the herbs often helping to provide support and soothe the tummy. We wanted to learn more about this, so we spoke to Bel Charlesworth, the Senior Herbal Advisor for Twinings, about choosing the right digestive tea blend.
“Turmeric has been used for thousands of years to support the key functions of the body such as digestion,” says Bel. “Our Twinings Live Well Digest blend has 45% of this health-giving spice per infusion. It’s then blended with other soothing aromatic spices like star anise and lemongrass with a hint of orange, making it a really handy way to take this popular botanical.”
Swapping out your coffee or black tea for a herbal blend is an easy way to boost your gut health without giving up your afternoon tea break.
One of the reasons we feel hungry even after snacking is we tend to go for low-protein snacks like biscuits or chips. Calorie for calorie, protein is more filling than carbs or fats and creates stronger feelings of satiety. This is exactly what you want in a snack so you don’t end up craving another in an hour.
Protein isn’t just meat and fish. Nuts, soy, dairy products, and eggs are all good sources of protein. Try mixing up a high-protein component with a carb or a fruit. Hummus and carrots is a classic – add a little smoked paprika for a kick – try peanut butter on a slice of apple, or for serious cravings pop a hard-boiled egg on a wheat tortilla along with a bit of avo for a perfectly-balanced snack that will leave you full until dinner time.
One of the classic, albeit misguided, dieting tips from days gone by is to drink water when you’re hungry. This nugget of wisdom hasn’t held up to the test of time because most rational people know you can’t satiate hunger with a glass of water. That said, you can make your snack go further by planning a healthy drink to go with it.
Accompany your snack with a lime soda water, a lean, green smoothie, or a steaming mug of herbal tea. This will fill you up more and better satiate your hunger cravings. And, as Bel also says, herbal teas with turmeric or ginger are known to help soothe and support your digestion making it a great accompaniment for whatever you choose to snack on.
Keeping some low-effort, healthy teas on hand can also be perfect for those moments when you’re not hungry but you crave a comforting drink.
Take a break
When you think about your worst snacking episodes, what do you think of? Is it mindlessly eating a whole tub of Ben and Jerry’s while watching Netflix? Or chowing down on a family bag of Doritos while on FaceTime?
Mindless eating is not ideal because your brain isn’t fully connected to your behaviour and the signals that stop you from overeating are delayed. It can also be plain old unsatisfying – all the calories consumed, all the snacks gone, but no memory of enjoying them.
Once you figure out your snack schedule, make snack-time a mandated break in your day. If you, like most of us, experience a slump in the mid-afternoon, make sure you prepare for it. Schedule an afternoon snack or tea break and get away from your workstation.
Stretch, drink water, and prepare your snack thoughtfully. Make time to eat it and enjoy it fully. A 15-minute reset to honour your body’s needs will help you get through the afternoon in a good mood and keep the 3 pm zombies at bay.
This article was brought to you by New Twinings Live Well Digest herbal tea. A deliciously smooth and warming blend, combining earthy turmeric with the flavours of juicy orange and spicy star anise for the perfect complement after any meal.