For many Malaysians, snacking is a habit that is part of our local ‘makan’ culture, especially as we are spoiled with choices of delicious snacks and treats ranging from ‘kuih’, cookies, biscuits, chocolate, chips, ‘keropok’, to nuts, fruits and a variety of flavourful drinks. While some might snack to curb hunger in between meals or for a boost of energy, a recent survey by Mondelez International #JomSnekBijak revealed that 74% of Malaysians turn to snacking as a source of comfort, as well as indulgence.
‘Mindful Snacking’ is a positive behavioural approach that focuses on eating with intention and attention. It encourages us to ask ourselves ‘What do I want to eat or snack on? ‘Why do I want to eat it?’ ‘Am I craving a certain taste or texture, either sweet or savoury?’ and ‘How does it makes me feel afterwards?’ This will lead to being more mindful of the food and snacks that you are consuming.
Let’s find out about some mindful snacking tips that could help you in making conscious choices.
1. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY’S CUE – HUNGER, CRAVING, FULLNESS AND SATISFACTION LEVEL
It is vital to pay attention to your body’s internal cue or triggers, as it indicates either a functional or emotional need to eat. Ask yourself whether you are craving for something to satisfy your hunger, or because you are feeling stressed, sometimes even wanting an energy boost. Whether it is a wholesome bite or an indulgent treat, being aware of what you’re snacking on and why you want to snack could help in making better choices, as well as forming a balanced nutritional intake.
2. EATING SLOWLY
Enjoy your food or snack slowly – pace it out, don’t race it, as eating slowly could help you avoid overeating. Chew slowly and finish that bite before taking another mouthful. Eating slowly has several advantages, such as improved digestion, greater satisfaction or enjoyment with the food or snacks that you’ve eaten and allowing your body to trigger your brain when you are full, as it takes around twenty minutes from the start of a meal for the brain to send the ‘I am full’ signal.
3. ENGAGE YOUR SENSES AND BE IN THE MOMENT
Savour the snack with all your senses and enjoy the taste, aromas, texture, shape, form, and colours. On top of that, be in the moment because snacking while engaging in other activities such as being on your phones or watching TV might lead to unconsciously eating more than you should or unsatisfied with what you’ve eaten.
4. REFER TO THE RECOMMENDED PORTION SIZE ON THE FRONT OF PACK AND THE INGREDIENTS
An easy tip for balancing portion control is by referring to the recommend portion size or the ‘Snack Mindfully’ icon on the front of pack. Before getting any snacks, make it a habit to read the ingredients and nutrition facts on the packaging. Snacking can be an opportunity to nourish your body – especially when you’re consuming snacks like fruits, nuts and other healthier options – as opposed to just satisfying your craving.
Start slowly but be consistent and make mindful snacking a good habit. Empower you and your family to strike a good balance, so that you would be able to enjoy your favourite snacks and have a positive relationship with food.