Q: Please Doc, I’ve been trying to lose weight but I always have cravings while watching TV late nights. What are those healthy snacks I can take to quench my cravings/hunger (sometimes)🙈
A: This is a great question. Your condition is made worse by the fact that you snack while watching TV. Snacking while watching TV is associated with mindless munching. Ever had one of those situations where you start off looking at a big of chips as ‘too much’ and then look up minutes later from a ‘veeeerrrry’ interesting show and find that…….what? You just finished that big bag of chips! 😀 That’s why you should always measure out what you want to eat or snack on….otherwise, you will definitely, always overeat.
Well, snacking doesn’t have to be a dirty word. Here are some tips to help you do it right:
• Snack on mixed nuts: Especially in the mid afternoon, this is a very effective pick-me-up that gives you a boost when your energy levels are waning. And they are also filled with heart healthy oils. Almonds, cashew nuts and pistachio nuts are good examples of nuts with fiber, protein and omega 3 fatty acids (the good fatty acid). These nuts are available in all major supermarkets either as mixed nuts or one-nut packs. A small handful of peanuts (or groundnuts) will also not go amiss due to its high content of unsaturated fats and protein. Be sure to go for the unsalted and dry roasted varieties of all the nuts as opposed to the oil roasted ones. Walnuts are healthy and are pretty cheap when in season. They are called ukpa in Ibo and Asala or Awusa in Yoruba.
- Do not wait too long between meals. This will lead to sugar levels going too low, lead to cravings and makes you over-indulge when you do get to eat.
- Keep healthy snack options within reach in your fridge and snack cabinet. This would include lots of fruits. This makes it easier to be making the healthier choices when snacking.
I am going to give you practical examples of fruits and vegetables in our environment that can take the edge off your hunger and still keep you healthy.
Apples can be eaten raw and included in smoothies. Same goes for bananas, mangos, oranges and carrots. Water melon and pineapples are also very nourishing and their health benefits are best experienced on an empty stomach. Blue berries, black berries and strawberries contain lots of anti-oxidants that are effective in preventing cancer. All these can be eaten on their own or added to smoothies.
Smoothies are fruit juices extracted in a smoothie maker…almost like blending the fruits; the smoothie maker goes a step further by removing the pulp so that you are left with the pure fruit juice. Traditionally, yoghurts are added but be sure that be sure that they are then low fat and no-added sugar variety. To be extra sure you are not being fed ‘hidden’ sugars, you could make yours (a cup of milk to four cups of water. Leave in an airtight container overnight. You can add a little amount of ready made yoghurt – unsweetened – to this and then refrigerate).
Green salads without all the fatty dressings are also great. Balsamic vinegar is better as salad dressing as it is derived from vines and rich in anti-oxidants. Be wary of the plastic packed varieties of fruit/vegetable salad hawked by fruit vendors which is really a mix of fruit and vegetables and has good intentions at the root of it. But those fruits and veggies spend so much time baking in their plastic packs in the sun such that when they are eaten, they pose more of a health hazard than benefit! Avocado pears with their heart healthy oils can be used as a spread on wheat bread sandwiches and also in salads.
- Drink water and often too. Sometimes, it is actually thirst that we feel and mis-read as hunger. Aim for at least 8 glasses of water a day and actually more if the weather is superhot.
- Chew slowly when you eat. The stomach needs about 15 minutes to get the signal that it is full. So don’t just inhale your food; rather, enjoy every mouthful and give your stomach the chance to report ‘I am full’.
So, there you go! You’ve got no excuse to get stuffed today! Eat right and feel light(Hmmm! nice rhyme….)
Did you catch the show on Monday? Watch out for the quiz tomorrow and be in line to win super prizes!
Have a fab weekend people 😀