A few hours after every meal, the munchies hit me. It’s not that I’m necessarily hungry, I just like to eat. I’m a grazer. This is a problem I’ve struggled with my whole life. I like to eat even if I’m not hungry. I could have a huge meal and be stuffed, but I’ll still search for something to eat a few hours later. The other night, after I tracked my entire dinner, I had consumed about 1,850 calories for the day, which is the tippy top of my range. After dinner, I was still searching for food even though I wasn’t hungry. I ended up making kale chips. I went over my calories by 100 or so, no big deal. However, the problem is that I wasn’t hungry! I was considerably full after having leftover lasagna and 3 mozzarella sticks. Behavior like this is what kept me on the heavy side my entire life, so I don’t recommend snacking just because you feel like it. The only time I think it’s appropriate to eat when you’re not hungry is if you’re way below your minimum by the end of the day. Remember – habitually under-eating can slow your weight loss efforts. This is another reason why tracking your calories is so important! You could be hundred of calories under your minimum everyday and not know it.
So, when the munchies hit you, what should you do? Before making a beeline to your pantry, stop and think. When and what did you eat last? Many times, the munchies hit us when our last meal was not so balanced and not so healthy. Are you actually hungry? If you’re not hungry but you still want something, brew some herbal tea. (I’m in love with Celestial Seasonings Herbal Tea.) Are you bored? Go find something else to do! Clean, read, do something crafty; better yet, exercise! If you feel you MUST munch on something, go for some fresh veggies or fruit. Keep them handy and in plain sight. If they’re hidden in your produce drawer, you’re less likely to go for them. Slice up some carrots, bell peppers, celery, whatever you have on hand ahead of time and put them in a bowl front and center in the fridge. When the munchies hit, oh look! There’s a big bowl of fresh veggies with my name on it! Remember what I said about veggies yesterday, especially those with a high water content? They fill you up so you’re less likely to overeat during meal time. So not only have you solved your munchies problem, but you also won’t overdo it at dinnertime.
Moral of the story: SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS. You know the munchies will hit you at some point in time. If unhealthy snacks are more readily available than healthy options, chances are, you’ll go for what is more convenient. Make healthy food available for yourself!
Look what’s in my fridge right now: a big bowl of beautiful fresh veggies. I’ll be munching on these all day.