Schools in session and so is the snacking!

Why does the start of the semester bring on the chips, soda, and all those decisions you regret? I believe our bodies and minds were just not meant to sit for hours in lecture halls and so we look for stimulus to keep us engaged… or at least attempt to. The crunch of the chips or flood of carbonation in a soda is like a tiny slap in the face saying “WAKE UP”!

I am a firm believer in eating only when you are hungry and not for any other reason (boredom, stress, anxiety, sleep deprivation) but if the action is inevitable, if you are going to do it anyway, we might as well discuss how you can snack smarter.

First ask yourself, “Why am I snacking?”

Are you hungry? Is it head hunger (appetite)? If you feel the physiological signs of hunger, stomach grumbling, feeling of emptiness in the stomach, slight light headedness, go for a 150–200 calorie CLEAN snack. CLEAN means minimal to no processing and whole food ingredients.

If you are not hungry but know you are going to eat anyway, focus on CLEAN low calorie snacks. Ignore the very sweet or salty snacks because they will likely leave you wanting more and more.

Instead, turn to fruits and veggies. Crudite with some hummus will be your best friend. You can have 2 cups of cut non-starchy veggies for about 50 calories (winner)!

Some other good options are Israeli salad, berries that are washed and ready to eat, and cut fruit (nobody wants to deal with sticky hands during class). Avoid mango, pineapple, cherries, and grapes as they are higher in sugar. You can also pick up some air popped popcorn and try to eat them one at a time.

Worried you will make noise with all this crunchy food? Grill your veggies or fruit for a great flavor with no accompanying distractions. Choose foods that force you to slow down. These include shelled edemame, clementines, and hot soup.

You can also go for a low calorie beverage instead. Sip slowly to make it last through class. Try kombucha (my favorite soda replacer), chai tea made with almond milk, flavored seltzer water, or half caff coffee (hold the whipped cream and syrup).

Want to kick this eating during class habit completely? Sit in the front row. You are likely paying an arm and a leg anyway to be in class… might as well get up close an personal with the material.

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