My tips to control afternoon snacking
How often do you find yourself saying "I did so well up until lunch time and after that I couldn't stop eating".
The number one thing causing this problem is that you haven't eaten enough food for breakfast and lunch. So it is not surprising that you can't stop snacking after lunch because you are hungry! There may also be an underlying emotional response. This could be slipping into all or nothing thinking.. or "I'll start again tomorrow". Sound familiar? Breaking this thinking takes time, but it is not impossible.
The key to managing 3.30itis is to have a plan. Below are my key strategies for managing the afternoon munchies.
1. Have a look at lunch: Make sure your lunch has a good mix protein and carbohydrate to keep you satisfied for longer. Some ways to do this are:
add chickpeas or lentils to salads
make your salad into a sandwich with extra veggies on the side
or simply having more veggies with meals
2. Prepare for 3pm: Pack a filling snack for when 3pm rolls in. Try to have snacks that have fibre and protein (again to keep you fuller for longer). This will prevent constant snacking. The options are endless, so find something that you will enjoy and that is easy to grab. My favourites are wholegrain crackers with hummus and tomato, a piece of fruit with yoghurt and a small handful of nuts or a wholemeal muffin with a flat white coffee .
3. Set a routine: If you snack were because there is food around or because of social pressure, try to change this environment. It might mean putting the biscuit jar in the cupboard and replacing this with a fruit bowl.
4. Listen to your body: For me this is the most important tip. Your hunger levels are a great way to manage the amount of food that you eat. Before reaching for an extra coffee or biscuit ask yourself "am I hungry?" This one little question increases your awareness of your eating habits and can help you make better choices.
As you can see, there is a lot to changing eating habits. This doesn't mean that your diet needs a complete overhaul! Start small and choose one thing that is most important for you. That way you are more likely to maintain the change and managing that 3.30 slump.