May 27th, 2016

Snacking with Purpose

Food cravings and true hunger are different things. Cravings usually hit us fast, and are demanding and specific in their requests (e.g., “I want that [specific] chocolate bar right now!”). Hunger is more gradual, and less rigid in its wants.

So when it comes to snacks, what happens to you when Craving comes banging at your door? Do you launch for the sweet drawer? Do you crave salt and fat? Are you looking for an energy boost? Do your cravings change from day to day? Are you simply eating out of habit?

Regardless of your reason for snacking, there is always a way to layer in healthy: ways to simultaneously satisfy short-term wants and optimize longer-term health goals.

Below are a few snack attack scenarios with snack options which add some healthy into your snacks, and over time, help set you up for better eating patterns.

Types of Cravings

The Sweet Tooth

Analysis: This could be many things including a) emotional eating, b) a bad set up from your last meal which has you on sugar and stress hormone rollercoasters, c) a habit (e.g., “the 3pm muffin”).

Tips: Add nuts and seeds to your snacks. They blend well into sweet foods and contain protein, fibre andgood fats, which when combined, make you feel satisfied sooner and for longer. Overall, these wonder kernels attenuate blood sugar, appetite, and energy drops. Research is clear that a diet that includes nuts and seeds help us to balance appetite, as well as maintain (and even lose) weight.

The “I don’t know what I feel like” Craving

Analysis: This may mean that you are not actually hungry, or that your body is craving nutrients, not necessarily calories. As I’ve said to many athletes and clients: not all meals need to be a circus for your tongue. Sometimes it’s wise to try something functional first, and then revisit the craving.

Tip: Go for a snack with high volume, high nutrients and very few calories. My favourites are various fibres and greens in a big glass of water.

Afterward, wait 20 minutes to see if your craving has eased. If not, proceed as before. At least now, you are better nourished.

Salty Fatty Crunchy Craving

Analysis: This may be a true need for salt, but if your body is calling for fat and crunchy, then it more likely just a craving for salty fatty snacks.

Tip: You can still have salt, fat, and crunch, with some better nutrient profiles. See below.

Pop or Juice Craving

Analysis: This may be thirst, or a sugar craving. The irony is, if you go for a really sugary drink, it can make you more thirsty as your body uses your own water stores to dilute sugars in the intestine for better absorption. Sugar also creates a cascade of hormonal and other metabolic events in the body which immediately increase inflammation, blood lipid levels, blood sugars, and fat gain.

Tip: Go for watery foods. The water will address potential dehydration, and will add volume to the gut which in turn affects stretch receptors associated with satiety signals.

These are ones I have migrated toward, but as always, choose what resonates for you, or make them your own in your own way.


- Trionne Moore
Trionne Moore is a registered nutritional consultant specializing in workplace wellness consulting services. She is also President of The Healthy Road, a health store in Corktown, Toronto (www.thehealthyroad.com). She is regularly engaged by media and film for nutritional expertise, including her work with Daniel Craig. She was Lead Sports Nutritionist with the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario working with hundreds of provincial and national athletes and coaches. Trionne focuses on natural, whole foods, digestive support, reputable supplement protocols, and lifestyle enhancements to support performance goals – be it in competition, in the boardroom, on set, or with family.www.trionne.ca