Snacks and Other Finger Foods
My husband and I were at a burger joint waiting for our order to be called. Across the room at another table was a man and woman eating their burgers and fries and signing between bites. The thought occurred to me, do deaf parents teach their deaf children to not talk with the hands full?
With breakfast and lunch out of the way, let’s talk about snacks. If we are going to eat them we need to know that they will be contributing to our weight loss goals, not sabotaging them.
I have the abominable habit of eating while watching television. Not that I watch broadcast or cable or dish or whatever. I use our television to watch movies, or old shows on DVD. Never mind what I watch, the fact that I can’t seem to watch without eating something is the problem. Even when I am reading I mindlessly munch on stuff, edible stuff. Very bad habit.
The first thing to do is replace a bad habit with a better one. Instead of using my hands to transport food from a bowl or plate to my mouth, I can use my hands to create gifts or other useful articles for myself and others. Knitting, crocheting, needlework of any kind keeps our hands busy and out of the food bowl. Folding clothes, ironing, and mending are other useful activities while watching a movie.
If we must eat, let’s plan ahead and make is something that won’t add to our unwanted pounds. Fruit is nice, grapes, berries, apple or pear slices, melons in the summer, citrus in the winter, there is always some kind of fruit available. Cut into slices or pieces it gives us the feeling of hand to mouth snacking. Air popped popcorn replaces chips or crackers if you want something crunchy. One batch of popcorn drizzled with a scant tablespoon of butter (the only spread I use) is plenty to share and won’t break the calorie bank. Sometimes I make veggie nibbles, by cutting up carrots, celery, broccoli, peppers, etc. into small pieces and it satisfies the same hand to mouth action habit as the fruit. Adding a few canned beans such as garbanzo or kidney adds enough protein to be very satisfying.
If we choose to have crackers, chips, cookies or candy of any kind, then label reading is essential and taking out of a package only one serving will save us heartbreak in the morning. Make the presentation (the dish the food is on) pretty and eat slowly, letting the food dissolve in your mouth so that the small amount goes a long way.
Practice doing without. I know, not fun. But if those slim French women can do it we certainly can. Amy Dacyczyn, aka The Frugal Zealot, of Tightwad Gazette Fame, says “I was hungry during the first week while my stomach adjusted but chanted my mantra: ‘Hunger is good.’ After that, I seldom felt very hungry.” (The Tightwad Gazette: 68:4)
Many times we are not really hungry, we are thirsty. Drink another full glass of water and see if your “hunger” is still there. Often we just have a bad habit. I know I do. Another coping device is a short burst of exercise. A brisk walk around the block. Ten minutes on the treadmill. A few jumping jacks, or jumping rope. Something to get our blood moving and our minds off of eating. We are changing habits. Oh so difficult, but oh so worth it when accomplished.
Save your most decadent snacking for one day a week. I give in on Sundays. For me Sunday is a day of rest from all the worries of the rest of the week. It is generally a rest from ‘dieting’ too.
Do you know what happens after you have not had daily treats for a long time? It actually takes less to satisfy your mouth. That is a good thing. The longer you go between treats, the less it takes to feel like a treat. And if you make it a high quality treat, it takes even less of it to feel like something special, because it is.
One final caution; never, never eat snacks mindlessly from the container. Take out a serving size and put the rest away, far away! Remember those diet chips from Chapter Eight, by sharing a portion we eat less and keep our commitment to letting go of bad habits and excess weight.