Making Snacking a Habit

Semi-following on from last week’s post, I wanted to talk about snacking today. Why? Because I think it’s importance is often overlooked in the running (and general sporting) world. I didn’t realise how essential it was until it all caught up with me and I realised I was suffering from RED-S. So, in sharing this post, I’m hoping that I can prevent even one of you from falling into the same trap that I did.

Intuitive eating

Firstly, I want to talk about intuitive eating. It’s a great concept that for the past 5 or so years I really tried to embrace. In laymen’s terms, it basically involves being in tune with your body. Eating when you’re hungry, and stopping when you’re full. Sounds simple, right? But in reality, when you’re training to a high intensity and volume several times a week, intuitive eating really doesn’t work. You have to fuel your body for the amount of exercise you’re putting it through, and from personal experience & speaking to other athletes, your hunger signals often don’t match up to what you require.

mid-afternoon chia pudding? yes please

This basically means you have to eat when you’re not hungry. I always used to dismiss snacking – especially in the morning – because I wasn’t hungry. When I began to incorporate two daily snacks plus a post-session proatein shake, the morning one was the hardest for precisely this reason. BUT. And there’s always a but. I now actually get hungry for these snacks. My body is, if anything, MORE in tune with my needs than before.

Routine

Humans are creatures of habit. So, just like you would have a training routine, a morning wake-up routine, an evening routine… have a snacking routine. And start implementing it now. Although it’s important to not be too rigid and maintain a level of flexibility, having an idea of time for your snacks is a good starting point. I typically go for 11am and 4:30/5pm, plus whatever time I do my sport at. Our bodies adapt pretty quickly, and if you work at it, soon it will be a natural part of your daily life. You won’t even think twice about it. And remember, if you are hungry for more snacks than that, you can and should have them.

make snacking a training tool and integrate it into your routine in the same way
Start NOW

I have had a lot of messages recently about snacking and people struggling to implement it. People who postpone integrating it into their routine, and never end up doing it. I was one of them, so this isn’t a guilt-trip for anyone. All I’m saying is the classic “there’s no time like the present”. Chances are, if you’re reading this, then you already want to make snacking a habit. You’re just afraid of making that leap. Well, as someone who has gone from little snacking to a routine of it, I can tell you that your fears (whatever they might be) will not come true. I have more energy, have PB’d in 10K and HM and have been loving training. You won’t regret it.

Stock up

Finally, I would recommend stocking up on a good, diverse range of snacks. That way, you always have a snack up you sleeve – even when on the go. Keep a couple in your backpack so you’re never caught snackless 😉. I am loving Creative Nature bars (use code FRUITS10 for 10% off), Tribe protein bars (get £5 off saying my name at checkout “Emma Gill”), MissFits Nutrition protein powder and wonderballs (fruits5 for £5 off), and homemade balance balls. On the cheaper end, lidl and aldi have some good’uns too. Other ideas include toast with peanut butter and banana (classic), 4 rice cakes (minimum) with nut butter and banana, or yoghurt, fruit and granola bowls. Have fun with it and enjoy them!

a handful of these does the trick!

I hope you’ve found this post useful, and if you have any more questions don’t hesitate to message me! Remember, though, that I’m not a registered nutritionist nor can I actually eat the snacks for you – that is down to you, and I know you can do it 💖

Emma ♥♥