It’s almost ridiculous how effortless it is to eat at any given time. In the most unlikely places, and for only a few bucks, you can get yourself a snack.
Trip to the party store for birthday decorations? Candy and chips in the checkout lane.
Quick stop at the bookstore? Latte and muffin at the cafe.
Outdoor store for spring plants? Hot dog and soda on your way out.
Food is available everywhere. It’s like we’re trying to ward off hunger as if it were a communicable disease.
It’s not that we NEED food, nor that we’re even hungry.
It’s difficult to work up a voracious appetite channel surfing and ordering take-out. On your phone. On the sofa.
We are an overfed and overweight nation. (1)
We’re also a sedentary nation. (2)
But hey, that doesn’t stop us from snacking!
WHAT IS SNACKING?
The term “snack” doesn’t have a consistent definition. (3)
You may not even be hungry for pie (or for that matter, anything).
But a companion’s food choice, even the portion size of the choice, can influence our own behavior.
FREE SNACKS, ANYONE?
WHAT FREE SNACKS ARE COSTING YOU
“Psst, over here! I’m the crunchy-salty bite you didn’t even know you wanted. Even better? I’m FREE. Come on, dig in. Take MORE!”
- an observer of human food habits
- a seasoned, in-the-trenches nutrition therapist
- a student of the psychology of eating behavior research
- on a mission to help the breast cancer community thrive with healthy lifestyle habits
THREE COSTS TO CONSIDER AND HOW TO CONTAIN THEM
That hair salon is a business. I run a business, so I know how important it is to contain expenses and overhead. With no offense to that kind gesture, their snack budget won’t support organic hummus and wild-caught smoked salmon. Remember, enormous containers of animal cookies, pretzels, and neon-yellow fish crackers mean budget-friendly quantity not health-friendly quality.
- Commit to this: Mindfully FUEL your body with whole food snacks for health and vitality. When you mindlessly FILL your body with “anything as long as it’s edible,” you miss an opportunity to practice good self-care. And honestly, do you even WANT those particular snacks? There’s nothing special about the food items I used as an example. You can buy them anywhere and eat them anytime. Let the snacks you choose be foods you love, and that love you back.
You may not be hungry, but when you spot those free snacks? It’s likely you’ll eat them anyway. Remember how environment influences your decision to eat or not? True, physiological hunger is a result of a complex interaction of receptors, peptides and gastrointestinal endocrine and neuronal systems. Not the availability of free snacks.
- Commit to this: Check in and assess your TRUE HUNGER before reaching for any food. Your body’s never-wrong hunger cues will tell you whether you’re HUNGRY or merely giddy at the thought of free food.
As your mother said, “You’ll ruin your dinner.” Let’s say you’re hungry and decide to have a “small snack” to hold you till your next meal. But it’s tricky figuring out how small that “small snack” should be. Eating too much of a low-quality snack leaves no room for a high-quality meal. And that’s a shame. Your body works best fueled with nutrients, phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Those are tough to find in free snacks.
- Commit to this: Plan ahead and bring your own nourishing snacks. Recognize that you may get hungry while out taking care of business. Nuts and dried fruit are non-perishable and portable. Even when smashed into the bottom of your purse, they resist crumbling. Let them do the same for you.
Now, tell me in the comments below; can you easily bypass FREE snacks? Yes, with no problem? Hell, no?