Q&A: How do I control my snacking?

Young man taking potato chip out of glass bowl while sitting on sofa in front of laptop on table and having snack

Q: Why do I crave snacking so much now that I’m working from home because of coronavirus and how can I stop it?

A: Firstly, Mountain Trek supports snacking! In fact, in our approach to mindful Balanced Health, we don’t judge food or eating to be “good” or “bad”. It’s all about what, how much, and when that makes what we choose to eat either positive and healthy, or derailing. If you’ve ever been to Mountain Trek, you have heard our nutritionist, Jenn, say to eat a mix of foods every 3-4 hrs up until dinner in order to maintain consistent blood sugar (energy requirements) throughout the day. Varying blood sugar is what gets us in trouble with caffeine (hello, 2 pm crash) and snacking. This means we actually need to snack in order to optimize our mental and physical health and vitality! But we need to ensure we’re eating the right amount, of the right thing, at the right time. 

Snacking between Meals

Ideally, each meal or snack will have a little protein with a variety of colorful items from the plant kingdom. As stated above, we should be eating snacks 3-4 hours after breakfast and then again after lunch. Timing our snacks will balance our energy levels and prevent over-snacking. If we can take the time to organize our snacks on the weekend, we can make healthy and timely grazing even easier. Pre-cut and containerized veggies and protein dips and a variety of fruit choices with nuts, seeds, cheese, nut butter, hard-boiled eggs are all great, healthy snack options.

Why we crave the “Trifecta”

As for your “craving”, the reason you find tasty but unhealthy snacks on your mind is that we all get attracted to the “Carb-Fat-Salt Trifecta”. There is biological wiring from our tongue’s taste buds to the neurotransmitter release of our “feel-good” hormones, dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. These mood enhancers bathe our brain with an uplifting break from our stress-filled day. So eating potato chips, which hit the trifecta on the head, makes us happier, chemically at least. Emotional eating is real! When we feel depressed, disconnected, lonely, bored, exhausted, we are emotionally stressed. It is normal to unconsciously reach for a little something-something to pick our mood up and feel satisfied. But that short term pleasure turns to long term pain.

Habituate Healthy Choices 

Setting ourselves up with actions that we can habituate, while we have the kitchen so close to work, can pay dividends when we go back to the office or begin traveling again. 

  • Prepare snacks and set timers to remind yourself to step away from the screen to refuel. By preparing in advance with a healthy mindset, it makes your healthy snack a satisfying, easy and quick option instead of reaching for a bag of chips. 
  • Make your snacks nutritional, but also pleasurable. Include a variety of fruit choices with nuts, seeds, cheese, nut butter, and hard-boiled eggs. These are all great, healthy snack options.
  • Pre-cut and containerize veggies with protein dips. The combination of a fibrous snack with protein is nutritious and will provide you lasting energy.

To get started, here is a 2-day healthy meal plan. Learn more about how to develop a nutritional diet from home during one of our Basecamp Retreats.

What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning retreat, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at info@mountaintrek.com or reach out below: