I’ve always been quite big on snacking. Especially when I’m bored – if I’m slaving away behind the computer at work or listening to a lecture at home, you can rest assured that you will find some kind of snack near by – apple slices, a small handful of nuts, veggies sticks with dip. When the cupboard is bare, I try and be a little inventive – a spoonful of peanut butter mixed with some mashed chickpeas and a little honey – which sounded great when I thought of it but not-so-great when I tasted it. Though my snacks are usually healthy, the issue I have is that I’m not always hungry, it’s more of a habit. I snack because I always have, and though my main meals have been cleaned up and I’ve ditched other bad habits, my habit of snacking is one thing that has remained.
Lately I’ve been trying more to eat mindfully – that is eating with attention and intention. Before I reach for a snack, I ask myself if I am actually hungry or if I’m eating just for the sake of it. When you are conscious of your habits, it’s hard to ignore them. Another useful tool is keeping a food diary. Though this can be a little tedious, I definitely find that it helps to see how much food you really consume, and any emerging patterns. For example, one day I ate in the afternoon – a chia pudding, an apple, some almonds, an energy ball and then some more almonds. That is a lot of extra food considering that I most likely wasn’t even all that hungry at the time! Thursdays are also my “rest” days, so there was no extra strenuous activities making me crave this extra food. If you are a serial snacker like I am give it a try for a week (that was as long as I lasted) just to see what you are really eating and when.
My latest attempt to stop this ‘mindless’ eating is to eat four or five smaller meals a day. So far it has been working really well, and I’m able to get by with just those four or five meals and no snacks in between. I keep some fruit in my drawer in case I get too peckish, but for the most part when I am eating more often I don’t feel the need to snack as much. I try to include fiber in every meal, plus a little fat and protein to keep me full. This chocolate shake is one of my new favorite breakfasts. It’s tasty – not too filling, but enough to keep me full until my next mini-meal and I find the chocolate makes it incredibly satisfying (because when don’t we like eating chocolate!?)
And as with the theme around here of late, this smoothie has some hidden veggies included (I promise, you won’t be able to taste them!)
Chocolate Protein Smoothie
1/2 cup chopped zucchini
2/3 cup milk of choice (I use almond)
1/2 banana (or another date)
1/4 cup chickpeas
2 Tbsp raw cacao
Tiny pinch salt
Add all ingredients to a high speed blender, and mix until well combined.
Serve with a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg
Some exciting news – as I mentioned in my last post, I will hosting a workshop in Hobart with Briana from Crave Living looking at increasing the amount of vegetables in your diet. We’ll work through the associated health benefits as well as show participants some delicious and easy it is to make vegetable-based recipes. For further information, check out the event details here.
For those of you not in Hobart however, I also have something lined up for you as well, so that you can learn about the benefit of vegetables – and creative ways to use them – all from the comfort of your own home.