Healthy Tidbits

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Mariam’s Monthly Motivation – Snacking

Feb 15, 2022

Hello everyone! This month’s blog topic is about snacking. Why we feel the need to snack, what to snack on, and if we truly are hungry or if it’s in our head. I’m going to jump right into this one.

I first want to start off by talking about hunger. There are two types of hunger, true and head. True hunger is when you have not consumed enough calories in the day so your body sends off a signal to your brain letting you know to eat. Now, this is often confused with head hunger. We think we’re actually hungry but with head hunger, just like the name insinuates, it’s often all in our head. An example of this is a craving. Let’s say you’re watching tv and one of the characters is eating a juicy burger or an ad for Red Robin comes on. If you really like burgers, your mouth will start to salivate without you realizing and you’re likely to end up browsing the fridge or pantry for something to satisfy that hunger. Why do you think fast food chains advertise so much on TV? They know the consumer is likely bored and will be easily influenced by a commercial. I’m guilty of being influenced by this too. Boredom is also a head hunger trigger. Eating is an act that can cure boredom. In my family, if we didn’t know what to do, we’d go out to eat. If I was bored around the house, I’d often end up in the kitchen just walking around and end up eating a bite of whatever was in the fridge. It’s very important to understand which hunger you’re facing so you can take appropriate action. If you realize that you’re truly hungry, the solution is a simple one. Find something nutritious to eat and look back on what you ate throughout the day. Did you eat too little protein, unsatisfying or boring foods, etc. If it is head hunger on the other hand, find something to occupy your time. Pickup a hobby or go on a walk. When you come back, if you’re hungry, find a high protein, low carb snack. Before this though, drink some water. Your body will send you the same signal for hunger and thirst so often times when you think you’re hungry, you may actually just be thirsty. Dehydration can definitely lead to weight gain or overeating so this is yet another why hydration is so important.

This brings me to the next topic and a question I get often, what should I snack on? The most important thing is sticking with high-protein, low carb snacks. Your snacks should not be high carb or nutrient-less. My go-to’s are reduced fat cheese sticks, Greek yogurt, a protein shake, vegetables with hummus or a Greek yogurt ranch dip, a small handful or nuts, a green/vegetable-packed smoothie, lettuce-wrapped veggies or lunch meat, or protein bars, just to name a few. I find if I eat a high-fiber, filling meal, I don’t have the need to snack so I focus first on my main three meals before picking anything else up from the kitchen. Doing this has helped me tremendously from mindless snacking. That and staying busy.

Here are my favorite websites to get bariatric recipes from:

To summarize everything, make sure you vary your diet so you don’t get sick of eating the same things and can stick to this way of eating for life. Snacking is not the enemy, but too much of anything can cause weight gain. Find that balance but focus on having high-quality meals first and learn the difference between true hunger and hunger.