Dr. Schroeder’s Top 5 Snack Tips
Do you worry that your snack habit is undermining weight-loss efforts? Snacks have a reputation as unhealthy or even unnecessary. But Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) obesity medicine physician Robin Schroeder, MD, says these miniservings serve a purpose. “In my professional and personal opinion, snacks are not a bad thing when they are part of a mindful eating plan,” she says. Snacks don’t have to run your life. You can manage them by learning your hunger patterns, planning ahead for distractions and preparing snacks that hit the spot.
Do you have true hunger or “head hunger”?
Is your stomach growling? Has it been several hours since you last ate? That is true hunger. If you are eating to soothe hurt feelings or out of boredom, then stop, because that is head hunger.
Are you a “carboholic”?
Carbs make us feel good, however if you eat too many carbohydrate-dense foods, you begin to crave carbs. Watch out for – and limit – potatoes, rice, or any fruit or veggie that turns to sugar rapidly after eating.
Do you have non-food distractions?
Especially for head hunger, have distractions handy:
- Coloring book for adults
- Solitaire on phone
- Crossword puzzle
- Sudoku puzzle
- Knitting, crocheting or other craft project
Are you thirsty?
Often thirst is mistaken for hunger.
- Your go-to drink: water
- Alternative: herbal tea
How can you soothe snack cravings?
Sometimes cravings need a response. Here are ways to handle them:
- CRUNCHY/SALTY: When Schroeder wants something crunchy or salty, she eats pork rinds. “They are crunchy, salty and very airy, and soothe that crunchy/salty trigger,” she says.
- CRUNCHY: Celery with peanut butter combines a crunchy and salty bite, and a little bit of fat in the peanut butter helps you feel more satisfied than just celery alone. Cream cheese is an alternative topping.
- SWEET: Go for a low-carb protein bar or fruit. Consume fruit along with some protein or a small amount of fat, like cheese, to prevent a sugar spike.