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11 Jun, 2023

Snacking with purpose

I'm sure we're all victim to mindlessly grazing every so often. There's nothing wrong with a good snack - it can reenergise us and makes sure we don't over-eat come our next meal - however often our continuous snacking can be habitual, mindless and consists of ultraprocessed ingredients if not homemade. Here's our top tips on how to snack with purpose.


How snacking affects our hunger signals

According to nutritional therapist, Phoebe Liebling.

Every time you feed the body, it needs to respond, and that takes resources. So if we have a tendency to graze, it tends to mean that our insulin levels never quite fall in between periods of eating, and if something is omnipresent, we don’t tend to take that much notice of it after a while do we? This is what happens with insulin - we become less sensitive to its actions, oh and then we need more of it, and so the unhappy rollercoaster continues.

When it comes to the digestive system, our probiotic bacteria outnumber us by a casual million or two, their actions ranging from nutrient absorption/creation to waste removal and mood stability to touch on just a couple of key roles. They then get overwhelmed with the continuous presence of fresh foodstuffs entering our bowels to be digested, meaning they never get to finish their cycles of activity correctly.

This can lead to imbalances between different forms, excess fermentation and intermittent bowel movements. We often lay blame on our bacteria for issues such as bloating and gas, but more often than not it’s our habits that create the causation for these concerns, the microscopic guys are just doing their jobs (or trying to at least).

So how do we reconnect?

An extended period of not eating, intermittent fasting, gives the body the opportunity to become sensitive once more to that energy uptake mechanism. In doing so we increase metabolic efficiency and actually differentiate between what true hunger and habitual hunger is. This is not a case of denying yourself of food when you need fuel, in fact it’s the opposite.

When we do feel we need to replenish with a snack, here's our top tips on how to reduce mindless grazing and snack with purpose:

  1. Start your day right. Make a tonic with Vitamin C, good fats and an active anti-inflammatory ingredient. This is a soothing and simple way to to kick-start your digestive and natural detoxification systems. Lemon, coconut oil, honey and turmeric are a good place to start. Mix the juice of one lemon with half a tsp of turmeric, 1 tsp coconut oil and half a tsp of honey to make a paste, mix with hot water and sip slowly before your breakfast. This will keep you fuller for longer.
  2. Balance. Make sure your breakfast, lunch and dinner are balanced with complex carbs, healthy fats and lean protein. If you are getting all the macro nutrients you need in your meals you are more likely to feel fuller for longer. Check out our blog for examples of satiating recipes for all meals.
  3. Take a break. Start by stretching your legs and drinking a glass of water. Often we think we’re hungry when we are just thirsty. Drink chamomile to soothe the bowel wall and aid in constipation; peppermint and fennel to help relieve gas; and dandelion, burdock, and milk thistle to help support liver detoxification. If you are still hungry or feel lacking in energy, have a snack or juice.
  4. Eat mindfully. If you have chosen to have a snack, then try to do so without distraction. Step away from your computer, turn off the radio and focus on what you are actually eating. By paying complete attention to the eating experience, you are more likely to be aware of the feeling of fullness, and satisfaction.
  5. Eat dinner before 7.30pm and break the fast between 9-11am (or until you get hungry). This will ensure that you have a period of intermittent fasting before your next meal, giving your system enough time to digest and absorb all of the nutrients you have had throughout the day. It also means you are more likely to have a good night’s sleep, crucial for improved energy levels and mood!
  6. Whole and homemade is best. For a quick or on-the-go snack, we recommend a piece of fruit such as an apple or banana with a spoonful of nut butter, some raw veggies with hummus, or a handful of nuts. Otherwise, our approach to the perfect snack is to create a ‘mini-meal’. This means putting together a couple of spoons of legumes or grains, a couple of spoons of probiotics, yoghurt and pickled veg is always a good pairing, a sprinkle of nuts or seeds, and then any seasoning or herb to hand for extra flavour. This is why leftovers are always worth keeping - for extra delicious snack material that you can throw together in a bowl in minutes! Another option is one that is rich in both protein and healthy fats, such as half an avocado with some toasted seeds, a boiled egg, some crudités with home-made hummus or some blueberries and coconut yogurt.

Here's our top 6 exciting snack recipes:

  1. The 'mini-meal': Crispy chickpeas and yoghurt.
  2. For on-the-go: Sweet potato and sesame bites.
  3. To get your greens in: Kale crisps.
  4. For your sweet cravings: Blueberry oat bites.
  5. To drink: Avo and almond smoothie.
  6. To dip: Celeriac, carrot and almond hummus.

Would you prefer someone else to do the meal-prep for you? Here's where we step in. Our plans deliver fresh nutritionally-balanced meals, protein-rich snacks, and organic cold-pressed juices to keep you satisfied and energised all day long. Explore your options here.