Healthy Snack:  Why do we Snack?

Healthy Snack: Why do we Snack?

Do you feel the need to munch on something while binge watching a show, even though you've only just polished down a heavy meal? Do you have the nagging urge to open the refrigerator every hour and scan through possible foods to snack on from time to time? Do you reach out for that plate of fries or packet of chips and finish it before anyone else gets a bite? Ever stop to wonder, ‘why do we snack’? Often we’re trying to change the way we feel through the food we eat and we’ve got the lowdown on some top factors. One of the biggest triggers for craving fat and sugar-laden foods is stress. When we’re stressed our bodies produce cortisol which is the hormone behind the ‘fight or flight’ mode that we so often fall into. Because of our supped-up hormone levels, the body is preparing us for the aforementioned fight or flight when we’re really just snowed under deadlines and sitting in front of a computer. When we want to feel comfortable or soothed, we reach for snacks to help take our mind off things or to relax. In more extreme cases, comfort eating occurs in response to sadness, anxiety and fear. When we think of comfort we often think of intensely sense-stimulating foods like warm chocolate brownies or sweet-tasting biscuits and usually foods that are high in both fat and sugar. It has examined and found that women may be more easily susceptible to comfort-eating and display weaker willpower when faced with cravings, though every person differs. Once we’ve finished a project, tackled a tough boardroom session or run our first marathon, we’re likely to treat ourselves with something edible. This is often carried through from childhood where kids were treated with sweets and special sugary foods to keep them quiet or to show affection. As adults, there’s no one but ourselves policing how often we self-treat. In certain cases, the body does crave what it’s telling you it needs, so be smart and listen to your body but also question it. Eat healthy, nutritious and balanced meals at regular times and then keep snacks to fruit, high proteins like beef jerky or handfuls of nuts and seeds and always stop to ask yourself – why am I craving snacks?