Three Questions to Beat a Snack Attack
How many times have I told my kids to not snack before dinner because it will ruin their meal yet I will hijack a strong nutrition day with a lousy late night snack!
They absolutely cannot wait because they’re starving. But I’m no different when I want to justify a snack attack. Holler if you hear me.
And a snack attack can sound so believable: “Oh well, its JUST a snack” or “I’m only having one. Okay two.” and “I’ll get back on track tomorrow…”
Ironically, there are only a limited number of scenarios where a snack attack will come. So when I put a plan in place I’m far more likely to set myself up for success.
My goal is to Make the Healthiest Choice which includes the slippery slope of snacks that can take you down at any given moment.
There are three specific questions to ask yourself about your snack attacks:
Question #1 – When Do You Snack?
This question is key because we all have “our time” that we’re most likely to succumb to going south with a snack. (and so does the weight, right?!)
I’ve found there are key times when I’m going to struggle. These are the weak times when I’m the most vulnerable:
before bed – my ultimate weak spot
long stretch before meals – especially when I’m traveling
You know your habits. When do you tend to snack? Mid morning pick me up? The afternoon blues?
Question #2 – Why Do You Snack?
This question goes much deeper. Often it goes beyond the obvious. But we have to be willing to find out why if we want to change our snack habits.
Here are some possible reasons:
Hungry – What was going on with your last meal? Portion size or quality of food? For me, I don’t like to be hungry especially before bed and can make foolish choices if I’m not thinking ahead.
Bored – I find if I’m home and not much going on, I find myself circling the kitchen like a pack of wolves. I don’t need to eat but boredom can sure tempt me.
Stress – some people don’t eat at all when under stress but most eat out of comfort. Instant gratification with a powerful back end kick. (literally)
Triggers – sometimes we’ve settled in on a habit that has a trigger. For example, sitting down to watch TV and you always snack. Or always having dessert after dinner.
If you can get an answer to this question, you may learn something about yourself that could be very revealing and hopefully start gaining some victory in this area.
Question #3 – What Do You Snack On?
As someone who has really made a conscious effort to eat healthy and “make the healthiest choice”, I continue to be surprised and disappointed at the choices people make in the moment of a snack attack.
Again, this is a solvable problem, Nutrition Fans! Here are three suggestions:
Don’t react – if you react, you leave yourself open to going off impulse and willpower is almost always SOLD SEPARATELY – be smarter than that!
Prepare – you’re allowed to plan ahead especially if you know your day yet most rarely do. Since most of our days are rather predictable, know thyself and plan accordingly. Your success rate will sky rocket.
Have options – I’m an options guy. I like choices. And if I can have a couple of snacks to choose from, I’m far less likely to go off course and make a dumb snack choice.
I fly a ton for work and as a result, I am often tempted by grabbing a quick and very unhealthy snack.
But I can easily combat this sneak attack by preparing ahead of time and bringing options. For example:
Mixed Nuts bags from Trader Joes
Fruit – banana / apple
Organic Bars – Clif Bar / Kind Bar
Gallon Bag of mixed greens / strawberries and blueberries / baby carrots, etc (you should see the looks I get when I pull this awesome snack out on an airplane! People start hiding their chips and candy bars)
Another idea if you’re a traveler, I can almost always find a grocery store (Trader Joes or Whole Foods) to stock up on some fresh and healthy snacks. It’s ALWAYS worth taking that little extra time to be prepared in moments when I could easily react and cave.
And sometimes I just need more water in my system. Check out the three watered down lies we believe about hydration. You would be surprised what water and a few minutes could do for an appetite.
You have complete control of what you put into your mouth. Many of us have done better eating the big meals but the snack attack is what usually takes us down.
In the end, there are two ways to take down the Snack Attack:
You have to “want” to eat healthy snacks and willing to do whatever it takes even if that means over-paying or not eating.
Nobody can put this desire in you. And you have to find it in order to handle the pressure.
In order to win at the snack attack, you have to go in with a plan. Study your possible scenarios. There aren’t as many as you think.
For me, night time and travel are my culprits. But with planning on my end, I can make the healthiest choice.
So, motivated, busy professional… answer these three questions and prepare for your next snack attack!
What do you need to do to implement healthy snacks into your day?