I have always believed that grazing is a good thing to do as theoretically it keeps your blood sugar steady and should stop you from snacking on the wrong things because you won’t have cravings. However with some people I now think this is a bad idea, for two reasons.
The first is that endless snacking and picking on bits and pieces may actually keep your blood sugar at a level where you do not burn fat for energy – you just don’t need to. Many people have a sedentary diet and burn off very little energy from day to day. The second point is that food then becomes quite a feature of the day, hardly a moment goes by without thinking about what to have now and people have an endless supply of snacks available. At home there’s things for when people come round, things for children and grandchildren, and treats for the telly. There’s dispensing machines and canteens and still (very hard to resist I admit) people with trolleys piled with stuff who do the rounds of your office! There’s tins and Tupperware boxes and drawers with mini (so that doesn’t count) Twixes and Kitkats and crisps and yoghurt raisins (they must be healthy so can’t possibly count – YES!). And then there’s all the things that we nutritionists recommend – nuts and seeds and oatcakes with little spoons of hummus or cottage cheese or in my case peanut butter. But now I’m beginning to change my mind.
Snacking makes you think about food all the time and it costs a lot in these recession-led times. I think eating three good meals is the best way, giving your digestive system time to sort out one lot of food before another lot comes piling in. If you eat late (after 7.30) then a little afternoon snack is a good idea probably but other than that don’t do it. Giving up snacks will be like giving up smoking especially in the way that certain situations trigger snacking like watching telly, having tea or coffee, needing a ‘break’ from your routine or just comfort eating. My mum never gives you a glass of wine without a bowl of nuts and kettle crisps – delicious, then we storm into a huge meal too. It would be an easy habit to pick up! Eat properly at meals and just don’t have snack foods in the house, get rid of them because they call you and you will find it too difficult to give in. Then you can burn up your food as energy and that will help you to manage your weight. In my next blog I am going to talk about foods that make you feel full.