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Snack-a-holic

Are you a snack-a-holic? One response I’ve noticed to the detox has been a reduction in my desire to snack. Since we have been provided with a set meal plan and I haven’t been exercising excessively, I’ve comfortably stuck to the three-meals-a-day format with only one exception (the carrots and hummus from Tuesday). This behavior demonstrates a markedly different mindset for me. I’ve always been the person who thinks food accompanies everything: sporting events, gatherings with friends, getting home from work, watching a movie. You name an activity or event, I can think of a food to accompany it. I started thinking about this when I read this article in the New York Times last night. While I will never be a three-squares-ONLY girl, I do think it’s important for us to keep snacking in check and make sure we are providing ourselves and families with properly balanced meals at meal time. The comment that stuck most with me was this:

“Children used to come home, change into play clothes and go outside and play with other children,” said Joanne Ikeda, a nutritionist emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley. “There were not snack machines, and the gas stations only sold gas. Now there are just so many more opportunities to snack and so many activities after school to have snacks.”

Now, it seems we are inclined to reward ourselves, and our children, for every single act and the reward most of the time is food. Oh, you got an A on a test? Let’s get ice cream! Oh, you had a hard day at school? Let’s get ice cream! And so, too, the behavior i demonstrated by adults. Rough day at work? Go out for a drink and some cheese fries. Found $5 on the ground on your walk home? Spend it on a bag of roasted peanuts.

This is not to discount healthy snacks, and many people are much happier eating 5-6 small meals (snacks) every day. But participating in this detox has taught me to differentiate between true hunger and emotional or psychological hunger. When I finish with the 10-day cleanse, I hope to remind myself that, in the absence of an alternative, my choice should not be to reach for a snack.

Are you a snack-a-holic? Do you feel better with or without snacking throughout your day?

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19 Responses

  1. I read that article, very interesting. I wish as a society we could cut back on the snacking. I do snack a lot, but to compensate I eat much smaller meals!

  2. I LOVE to snack…I think I actually enjoy it more than meals. That being said, I completely understand why this is an issue in our country. Most people aren’t making wise snacking decisions. Thanks for this post- it’s a great reminder to actually think about what I’m eating (even if it’s healthy) when I decide I’m “hungry!”

  3. You’re soooo right. I’m on the same cleanse and now that you mention it, I’ve noticed that too. I’m actually amazed at some of the things that I’ve already realized on this cleanse. The snacking hasn’t been an issue. In fact, I’ve noticed that just because I want to eat at 10am or 4pm (my prime snacky hours) doesn’t mean I should. Acknowledging your hunger cues also doesn’t always mean appeasing them either. Hmmm….

  4. This is an interesting article. Its weird because I can go weeks without wanting to snack and then all of a sudden I crave them all the time. I tend to want to snack more when I am work and just sitting at my desk. I also think there can be a negative connotation with snacking. I think people should just embrace their snacking desires as long as they are healthy snacks.

  5. I’m definitely a snackoholic. I’ve thought about trying to eat bigger meals and reduce my snackage. Although it might equal out in the end.

  6. That’s a great observation–I probably wouldn’t realize it myself without experiencing the cleanse program like you are. I too am very much programmed to associate food/snacks with certain things (ie. it feels very unnatural to go to the movies and not have SOME kind of snack, even if it’s smuggled in my purse). I’ve found that over the past year, since I’ve been allowing myself to eat enough to satisfy me at each meal, I don’t necessarily need the 4pm snack EVERY day, though without fail when 4pm rolls around, I’ll at least think of a snack, even if I don’t end up eating it.

  7. That’s a really interesting point (more snacking in today’s world). I hadn’t thought about it before!

    For me, I do find that most days I need a snack in the afternoon, but not in the mornings. It works for me!

  8. i just saw your comment on Diana’s and LOL’ed.
    SNacking. Well. I do and I dont. I actually eat pretty big amts of food twice a day and the rest of the day, not so much. Some days though, I guess. It’s random. As is this comment 🙂

    Kids and snacking. OMG As a mom, this is major pet peeve of mine!!!!! Children cannot even go to the park for 45 mins without the avg mother packing a juice box (HFCS), teddy grahams, and a bag of chips. For a 35 lb 2 yr old. I dont do that. If we are gonna be gone long, it’s always fresh fruit but seriously, i hate the snacky mentality of american moms. And Im a mom! 🙂

  9. I’ve been SO bad about snacking lately and that article def inspried me to get back on track (as did this post!!)

  10. I love the quote you included. That was my childhood. Rule #1 was to get out of school clothes and put on play clothes. Then we were either sent outside or in the basement, depending on the weather. We played til dinner time.

    It makes me so sad that I don’t see as many kids actually playing like we used to!

  11. I am definitely a snaker…but I always snack on healthy things…like fruits, veggies, nuts. I don’t do the “crap” snacks! I do agree too with the fact that I think we use food as a reward and it shouldn’t be that way! I always tell my clients that they need to find non-food rewards like manicures, a facial, a mall trip…etc…food shouldn’t be how we reward ourselves on every occasion!

  12. I never used to snack, which made me eat way too much at mealtimes. When I started changing my eating habits, I started snacking very regularly (as in timed!) in between meals and it helped me eat less (and better). I think I was so afraid of getting REALLY hungry that I was oversnacking, even though it was always on healthy things like fruits or veg. I’m now trying to snack only when I’m hungry and I’ve found that some days I need snacks more than others–and that it’s ok either way, because I’m not going to devour a pot of rice if I get hungry!

  13. I wouldn’t say I’m a snack-a-holic but I do tend to stress eat and on those days I snack or graze way more than I should.

    Very interesting post!

  14. Snacking is probably my biggest downfall!!!! And most of the time it is the evening snacking that kills me!! Exercise and eat well all day and then consume a boat load of calories (often from “healthy” food) during the evening. I’m still trying to master this, as I know I’d be down my last 8-10 if I did!!

    • It takes time, Niki, as I’m learning! My biggest challenge has been to make sure I’m truly eating enough throughout the day. I’ve had many days where I eat 1000-1200 calories before dinner (with no exercise) and then still overeat. But those days are fewer and much further between as time goes by. Now, if I eat more during the day, my body is beginning to naturally regulate and I’m simply not as hungry later in the evening!

  15. Oh my gosh! I came to yoiur boog from Oh She Glows and when I saw this article I had to comment. I also found it last week and thought it was VERY interesting. I don’t have any kids (yet), but it made me think about my childhood snacks and ones I see kids eating today (and how often they eat). When I was in high school I did need to have a snack after school (played a couple of sports, growing etc), but it was always fresh multigrain bread with butter, or a homemade muesli bar, or fruit etc. But if we were hungry around 5, we usually had to wait until dinner and there was nothing wrong with that. We survived! 🙂 And we also ate everything that was put in front of us. I truly credit my parents for enabling my brother and I not only to make sensible food choices as adults, but also to keep and open mind and try new foods. But I digress. I just think that there is so much crap out there for kids and their social activities always involve some sort of food break that often isn’t necessary. I was heartened by some of the mothers’ responses in the feedback section too.

    • So glad you stopped by my blog!! I agree – so much of our conception of food and food habits comes from our parents and I’m glad to hear your parents encouraged you to develop good decision-making skills early on! Hope you’ll visit here again 🙂

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