The festive season is almost here and, for most of us, it is filled with gatherings, office parties, cookie exchanges and other fun-filled festivities that bring so much joy and a wide variety of food and goodies.
If there is a time of year when people tend to put on a few kilograms, it is definitely the festive season because a calendar filled with gatherings makes it hard to stick to a schedule of meal planning, exercise and even, sleep.
During this time it is important to maintain awareness of our snacking habits. Snacking is no longer just a matter of convenience or affordability; it has evolved into a necessary indulgence, especially when times are tough.
Senior director of marketing for Mondelez International in the Sub-Saharan Africa region Arpan Sur said while snacking is a growing trend among South African consumers, it is equally important to encourage mindful snacking.
He said next time you consider snacking, ask yourself these three important questions: Why do I want to snack, what do I want for a snack and how can I savour my snack?
“So, it is not necessary to cut out that piece of chocolate or daily snack. Instead, it is about consuming the snack, whether sweet or savoury, with mindfulness and appreciation.
“By adhering to the following six behaviours, anyone can practise mindful snacking any time and anywhere, leading to a positive eating experience,” said Sur.
Below are Arpan Sur’s tips on how you can snack mindfully during the festive season.
- Know what you want: Is the snack meeting an emotional or functional need? Do you want to eat a piece of chocolate because you are feeling sad or is it a stop-gap because you have not had a chance to eat lunch?
- Enjoy and appreciate the snack with all your senses: Take time to really savour the snack and reflect on its taste, smell, and consistency. Is it smooth on the tongue? Do you really enjoy those crunchy bits?
- Be aware of portion size and moderate it: If it is crisps that you are craving, do not go for the biggest bag you can find. Rather opt for a smaller bag and then savour its contents. If chocolate is your go-to snack, stick to a single serving bar, break a few blocks from a slab and save the rest for later, or share it with someone.
- Be present at the moment: Do not quickly munch your snacks in front of your computer, mobile phone, or television screen. Rather set time aside to focus on what you are eating and – once again – savour it with all your senses.
- Be aware of your hunger, fullness, and satisfaction level: Do not eat for the sake of eating. If you are not hungry, rather wait. If you are full, then stop eating.
- Reflect on your whole eating experience: Eating should be a bit of a ritual, rather than a quick bite, chew, and swallow episode that leads to low satisfaction levels and the urge to eat more. Rather reflect on what you are eating, appreciate the nourishment the food is providing your body and, most importantly, enjoy it.
And lastly remember, a snack can easily be an apple, carrot or banana as it could be a bar of chocolate, biscuits or packet of crisps – the choice, quantity and frequency are up to you.
So, make it mindful!