When it comes to dieting and watching what we eat, we immediately work hard to reduce our snacking habits, or we try to put a stop to it altogether. Many of us become on red-alert – checking packets of nuts, crisps and sweets for calories and percentages of saturated fats but is this really a bad thing we need to shake to eliminate poor health and obesity? This month Nu Vending are going to break down the facts about snacks, looking into the science behind the snacking scenes.
Snacking: eating small amounts of food in between meals. Snacks are foods eaten between breakfast, lunch and dinner and there are many ways to interpret what really constitutes as snacking.
Studies have shown great disparities from person to person, when it comes to defining what the act of snacking truly is. Some say snacking is:
– The act of eating alone
– Eating in short, ten minute periods
– Standing whilst eating
– Eating small packs of low-nutritional foods
Why we snack
People snack for a number of reasons, sometimes it’s because we’re:
- Low on energy
Depending on the nutritional value of your breakfast, lunch or dinner, you may find yourself low on energy throughout the day. To tackle lightheadedness or fatigue, snacks such as fruits, sugary drinks and chocolate bars can help to raise blood sugar levels.
Of course, unnecessary eating can lead to obesity but if you do find yourself hungry between meals, snacks can be a good pick-me-up solution, as long as you don’t eat too much. Suppressing your appetite with plentiful snacks increases the risks of skipping meals or late night dinners.
Understand your body and ask yourself, how hungry are you?
– ‘ravenous and feeling lightheaded’
– ‘my stomach is grumbling’
– ‘I’m beginning to feel hunger’
– ‘I feel somewhat satisfied’
– ‘I am full’
To ensure you’re not overeating, it’s good to understand what your body is telling you and consider where you are on the hunger scale. Start to eat either when your stomach is grumbling or you start to feel hunger. Don’t wait to feel lightheaded or experience stomach pains because your body will not respond well to extreme swings in your blood sugar levels. This will prevent you from overeating or undereating and will help you to always maintain a nice level.
Partaking in intellectual thinking, is hungry work – studies show that those who study hard and work hard are more likely to digest more calories than those who don’t. Although thinking isn’t like running a marathon and the expenditure of calories will differ greatly, thinking activities can have a significant effect on insulin and glucose levels. Which could be the reason why thinkers tend to eat more. Glucose helps to power the cerebrum, the part of the brain which functions the left side of our brains.
- Socialising and culture
Snacking can be influenced by your social life and your culture – the amount of food a person consumes day-to-day can be reflected in those who they eat with. This can affect the size of portions, food types and frequency. Food may also be encouraged when it comes to social occasion celebrations, which can lead to an infrequent ‘eating routine’, which can lead us to overeating and snacking between meals.
Boredom can easily lead to snacking, hedonic eating provides a distraction to those who aren’t feeling intellectually stimulated. Snacking can be used as rewards to mundane tasks, even if we’re not feeling hungry we may feel encouraged to work towards the goal – i.e. snacks.
There is such a thing as ‘emotional eating’ and this can happen with a variety of emotions – whether we’re happy, sad or stressed – frequent snacking can act as a reward or comfort to many.
With many reasons to snack and healthy alternatives out there – snacking can be a great way to keep fit and healthy. Try incorporating nuts, fruits, seeds, protein bars and fruit juices into your every day. For more information about the healthy vending machines and solutions we supply, get in touch with our friendly team today. We operate throughout Central & Greater London and the Home Counties, in particular Milton Keynes, Watford, Slough and the surrounding areas.