Snacking is something we all do. We are supposed to snack so we don’t get too hungry, right? We throw them in our purse when we go out. They go with us on road trips. We always seem to have some form of a snack on us at all times, ready to save us from sudden death by hunger. Why? Where did we get this idea that we need to snack all day long?
I’ve been on diets that tell me to eat 3 meals plus 3 snacks. I’ve done the 6 small meals diet. You name it, I’ve done it. I can honestly say that I never EVER thought I’d be able to go to one or two meals a day with NO SNACKING in between. I even did a 48 hour fast. And I was FINE! I did not have hunger pains. I was not dying or starving myself. I actually enjoyed it.
Why Shouldn’t I Be Snacking?
If you are doing true, clean keto, you want to avoid snacking. Snacking raises insulin response, which is something we try to avoid on keto. It also drives cravings in some people. One salty snack leads to wanting another or even worse, you run to the pantry and grab the chips that are supposed to be for the kids. Next thing you know, half the bag is gone! (ask me how I know this) Even if it’s keto friendly foods, if you are eating a ton of them, you are going to wind up right back where you are. Or you’ll be messaging me telling me that keto doesn’t work for you and you don’t know why.
So I Can Never Have a Snack?
But what about the cookies I make? Yes, I do make treats. I do make cakes and other goodies. They are factored into my 2 or 3 meals a day. I will eat dinner and immediately have a square of chocolate or a cookie. I do not add these every day. Occasionally I get on a kick where I do want it every day and I stop myself. For me, it will just lead to bad habits.
If you eat nutrient dense food, which is what you are supposed to be eating on a ketogenic diet, and sticking to your macros, you will not get hungry in between meals. If you do, then you probably need to up your fats a little bit.
Hydration Instead of Snacking
We all need to stay hydrated. Even more so on a ketogenic diet. I’m not saying to drink 3 gallons of water, because you can overdo it as well. Drink when thirsty. If you think you might be hungry, have some water and wait 10 minutes. It may be thirst. Black coffee and tea also count towards keeping you hydrated.
Staying Focused – Why Are We Snacking?
When we want to snack, we need to ask ourselves, Am I truly hungry? Am I thirsty? Or just bored? Am I eating out of habit because I sat in front of the TV? Do I just want popcorn because I am at the movie theater? Have I been trained to eat because I’m in a social setting? Or just because it’s breakfast time and I’ve been told that breakfast is the most important meal?
We need to find the reason for the craving and work through it. I am a late night snacker. I always was and it’s when the cravings hit me the hardest. It’s not because I’m hungry. It’s habit. That’s when I used to grab a bag of chips and watch TV. So, I’ve started crocheting again. It’s something to occupy my hands so I don’t mindlessly shove food in my mouth. Of course, another solution could be to count that as one of my meals, and just push my meal time back later. Another solution, one I’ve also been trying to do, is go to bed earlier. I’m certainly not doing anything productive at that hour, so why not go to bed and let my body rest.
So, in short, ask yourself why you want to snack. If it’s not truly hunger, find something else to do. Get busy. Go outside. Work out. Enjoy a hobby. Take a walk. If it was really hunger, you’ll know.
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