Thursday, April 20, 2017

How to Beat the Munchies

Out in the real world, a lot of people ask me questions about how to lose weight and various other ideas.  One I seem to be fielding the most lately is, "How do you deal with snacking?"

So, let me ask you...

Do you find that you eat well all day, only to come home and want to eat everything in sight?
Do you go searching for anything you can have to satisfy that need to munch?
Is night time or after work the hardest time for you?  
Or is it resisting the goodies everyone brings into the office to "share"?

I'll be honest, I love to eat and the more I think I've got snacking figured out, the harder it is to control.
There are a few tips or strategies you can follow to help with the munchies, but they require a little forethought.  Failure to anticipate your needs will lead you to self-sabotage, so the trick is to know what will satisfy your cravings, while simultaneously satisfying your needs.

The first trick is to plan healthy snacks.  Think about it, if you eat breakfast at 6, lunch at about noon and dinner at 6, or so, that's a long time between meals.  So, to keep yourself satisfied, you really should have mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks.  Nothing crazy, but a couple healthy snacks on hand. Planning basically means you have the food accessible.  Most of my snacks don't require any prep, just making sure the fridge / shelves are stocked.

Here are some suggestions:
Almonds (1 oz. = 160 calories, 6 g carbs, 14 g fat, 6 g protein)
A protein bar (depending on the brand = 200 calories, 16-23 g carbs, 6-7 g fat, 20-21 g protein
An apple with peanut butter (270 calories, 29 carb, 16 g fat, 8 g protein)
Greek yogurt with 1/2 serving granola (I use Bear Naked granola)  (195 calories, 22 g carbs, 4 g fat, 18 g protein)
A protein shake with a frozen banana (235 calories, 30 g carb, 2 g fat, 28 g protein)  I use left over cold coffee for my liquid and it makes a great pre / post-workout snack! (Not pictured)  Leave it in the blender a little longer than normal and viola!
Note one common thread: these just about ALL have a decent amount of protein AND healthy fats.

Things to avoid:
  • Trigger foods (for me, that's raisins, chocolate, cookies). What do you eat that makes you want more and more?  You may want to keep these kinds of things OUT of the house completely.
  • High carb foods with little to no protein or fat - while an orange or baked potato chips may taste good, they may not sustain you.  Try some fruit with cottage cheese or nut butter instead. (That's why I'll have an apple with peanut butter.)
If you are truly hungry, make sure you are eating enough for breakfast and lunch.  Skipping meals, or not eating enough, lends to hunger.  If you find that nothing satisfies you, binging is a potential hazard, which is an entirely different problem in and of itself.

When you feel hungry, but you know you shouldn't be hungry, ask yourself if you really are thirsty.  Chances are a glass of water will take care of your need to munch.  I just had a handful of almonds and two glasses of water and I feel much better.
I keep water in the fridge all the time, with sliced lemon.  It taste much better than straight from the tap and is a lot less expensive than drinking bottled water all the time.
When all else fails, try gum.  Yep, sugarless gum might just satisfy your need to chew and your need for something sweet.  One slice of Extra gum is only five calories.

If it's ice cream you love, try Skinny Cows.  I recommend you keep them out of reach, so one is enough. I keep these in the freezer in the basement and save them for my night time snack.  It satisfies my need for ice cream without a ton of bed time calories.
160 calories:  28 g. carbs, 3.5 g fat, 4 g protein

Thought I'd start sharing my favorite workout tunes with you.  Share yours in the comment section.  Here is my absolute new favorite workout song:
Chained to the Rhythm by Katy Perry, feat. Skip Marley

Questions for you: (answer in the comment section below)
How do you beat the munchies?  Do you prefer sweet treats of salty treats?  What's your one major trigger food?

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