Find out more about the health risks associated with poor snacking, plus get top tips to help you curb those bad snacking habits.
Snacking culture is on the rise, but Dietician Jaime Rose Fronzek warns that Australian females are not ‘snack smart’, with new research revealing that nearly half of Australian women are not eating the recommended daily fruit intake.
Find out more and follow Jaime's expert advice below.
5 ways that poor snacking can impact your health -
1. Weight gain
Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight becomes very difficult when snacking poorly. Unhealthy snacks are usually high in calories from fat and sugars. They are also high GI which means we feel hungry again sooner and snack more; contributing to extra calories and weight gain.
2. Increase risk of heart disease
Snacking on foods high in saturated and trans fats have been shown to increase your risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Similarly, so have salty foods such as chips, salted packaged foods, processed meats, pies and pastries.
3. Increased risk of type 2 diabetes
A diet high in sugar, including sugary snacks such as soda, lollies, chocolate bars, cakes and muffins have been shown to have a direct impact on type 2 diabetes. These sugary snacks can also contribute to weight gain, which is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
4. Low energy levels
Unhealthy snacking will also have a negative effect on your energy levels. A sugary snack will initially spike blood sugar levels, but then we process those sugars very fast so blood sugars then plummet, and we’re left feeling grumpy, irritable, tired and lethargic.
5. Poor mental health
Poor snacking also effects mental health. Whilst snacking on fruit can improve your mental health, snacking on milk chocolate or chips is associated with emotional eating and low moods
4 step program to curb bad snack habits -
Step 1: Identify your trigger
The first step to curbing your bad snack habits is to identify your trigger. Is it emotional? Have you let yourself get too hungry because you’ve skipped a meal? Is your workmate a feeder – sabotaging your healthy eating plans by keeping a bowl of sweets at the end of your desk? Once you’ve identified your trigger you can then start planning how best to curb it!
Step 2: Create a new healthy habit
Once you’ve pinpointed your trigger(s), create a new healthy habit. If 3pm treat is your vice then set a diary alert and make a green tea at 2:55pm! Get into the habit of keeping some fresh fruit or a Goulburn Valley Fruit in Coconut Water on your desk to take the edge off your cravings. If you have healthy snacks in arms reach, you’re far less likely to stray when temptation strikes.
Step 3: Refuel regularly
Make sure you eat every three to four hours – that way, you’ll never get too hungry and overindulge at mealtimes.
Step 4: Know that it will get easier
Changing snacking habits can be tough but please know that it DOES get easier. Keep at it, be consistent and don’t give yourself a hard time if you have a bad day. Soon you’ll be free of all those bad snack behaviours – saying no to unhealthy snacks will be easy!
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