My name’s Nik and I’m a snack-a-holic (Hi Nik)
I’m a snack-a-holic.
This is what I’ve discovered about myself in the last week.
Apparently I like to eat when I’m bored and I don’t think I’m alone in this.
How many of us are guilty of wandering into the kitchen and opening the fridge, just because there’s nothing good on TV?
Or reaching for the biscuit tin, just because it’s the advert break of Coronation Street?
So I’ve started asking myself: ‘Am I hungry? Or do I just want to eat something?’
Most of the time, I just want to eat something.
In truth though, snacking has got a bad rep. We’ve come a long way since the days of three square meals and now it’s the term ‘little and often’ that gets bandied around. Everybody these days is ‘grazing’ and if you’re not – you should be!
New research has found that the average Briton doesn’t have time to sit down for three meals a day and is more likely to fit in five or six mini-meals.
“Grazing is the way our body was designed to eat,” explained nutritionist Antony Haynes. “Large meals burden the digestive system, causing excess calories, bloating and lowered energy.”
Breakfast – as we all know – is the most important meal of the day, giving your body the kick-up-the-bum it badly needs after lying in bed for eight hours.
“Missing breakfast is the worst thing you can do,” explained Ian Dawson, a personal trainer and sports injury specialist from Barnsley.
“If you miss meals and run your body on empty, your metabolism slows down and your body conserves energy by storing the food you do give it.
“It’s a throwback to evolutionary times when nobody knew where and when their next meal was coming from – your body’s natural defence is to store fat. Eating regularly keeps it ticking and actually burns more.”
Of course I’m not suggesting we all start munching on chocolate and cakes between meals, smug in the knowledge that we are giving our metabolism a good seeing-to. Good sense dictates that the snacks have to be healthy to keep our body going in the right direction. Regular small portions seems to be the key.
“I have to eat every two or three hours, or I get hungry and moody!” my size-eight friend Libbi told me.
“People are always amazed by how much I eat, but I’m careful not to let my portions get too big and keep my snacks healthy, like slices of chicken, fruit, a handful of nuts or a yoghurt.”
Of course it’s important not to go too far the other way and eat just for the sake of it.
“By feeding your body regularly you keep the machine topped up,” Ian agreed.
“But be sensible with it and make sure you’re not putting more calories into your body than you’re burning off.”
So remember the key is ‘little and often’.
A mid-morning snack might be a handful of pretzels… not the whole bag!
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