It's easy to stress-snack or turn to foods with little nutrients when we're constantly hungry throughout the day. This can be true regardless of whether you are a patient or a caregiver facing myeloma. The stress of making and keeping appointments, remembering medications, perhaps working, or even taking care of children or grandchildren can be daunting. So how do we find easy ways to keep our bodies properly fueled? How can we stay healthy and snack in a way that nourishes our bodies? Learn with us from Katie Braswell, RDN and team member of Myeloma Crowd by HealthTree.
Watch the video below or read the detailed summary in order to learn more.
What are the main reasons that you are currently snacking?
Snacking in the United States is now reported at an all-time high. Due to the pandemic, many people worked from home in the last 18 months with easy access to food. This has brought many people, even members of the myeloma community, to find the root of their snacking habits.
Snacking due to these reasons periodically is fine. However, when it becomes a regular occurrence and keeps you from achieving your health goals, it's time to dive deeper.
If done smartly, snacking can promote a healthy lifestyle. Here are some of the ways smart snacking can improve your health and wellbeing:
It is easy to get carried away with snacking. Here's an important note: overeating is not due to a lack of willpower. There's often an underlying reason.
Here are some reasons why you may be overdoing it.
It's okay to snack if you are truly hungry! Listen to your body. If you realize that you are snacking because you are trying to cope with a certain emotion such as stress or loneliness, be gentle with yourself and search for alternative coping actions for yourself. Healthier options include going for a walk, calling a friend, etc.
The formula for smark snacking isn't complicated but it does require effort.
Below are photos and instructions for creating smart snacks to add to your diet.
By combining different foods, you can meet the smart snacking requirements and provide your body with the energy and nutrients that it needs. A good example of smart snacking is shown in the image above. By combining whole wheat crackers (that provide fiber) with peanut or almond butter (protein) and apple slices (for color and fiber), you are setting yourself up for success!
Other smart snacking combinations can be seen above.
By picking one of the following:
And combining it with one of the following:
You can provide a nutritious, smart, filling snack to satiate your hunger.
Other smart snacking ideas include:
Looking for other smart snacking ideas?
Learning when to snack is key to smart snacking. Use the scale below to determine what your level of hunger is to avoid over-consuming.
A good rule of thumb is to start snacking when you are between a 3-4 on the hunger scale (pretty hungry, stomach growling). You should stop snacking when you are at a 5-6 (satisfied, pleasantly full).
Again, watch out for health claims. Just because a snack has enticing "healthy" labels does not make the snack itself healthy. There are currently no regulations for snack branding, so companies can brand their snacks any way they would like to keep them healthy. Examples of "healthy" food labels are natural, organic, whole grain, made with real fruit, reduced-fat or fat-free, gluten-free, grain-free, 100 calories, or plant-based. This doesn't mean those snacks are automatically bad but they are probably not as healthy as they are promoting themselves to be. Remember, reading the actual food label is key.
Snacking is so much more than what you eat. To eat with intention and attention, ask yourself these 3 questions before snacking:
Choose to snack when you need energy or are hungry. Determining why you want to snack can help you choose what to eat to meet your needs at the moment.
Determine whether you want sweet or savory, creamy or crunch, hot or cold. Once you decide what you want to eat, portion out your snack and reduce distractions to help you enjoy your snacking experience. Also, slow down the pace of eating and check in with yourself to see if you are satisfied with your snack.
Remember to snack mindfully. Use all of your senses to savor your snack. Focus on the smells, tastes, textures, shapes, and colors of your food to fully enjoy your snacking experience. And remember to check in with yourself to see if you are satisfied.
Remember, one of the reasons you might be stress eating in the first place is because you have too much going on. Make smart snacking as easy for you and your household as possible. Always include protein and nutrient-rich ingredients in your choice of snack.
Let's do this together! By snacking smartly we can energize our bodies and stay motivated to keep moving during Blood Cancer Awareness Month.
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about the author
Audrey joined the Myeloma Crowd as the Community Program Director in 2020. While not knowing much about myeloma at the start, she has since worked hard to educate herself, empathize and learn from others' experiences. She loves this job. Audrey is passionate about serving others, loves learning, and enjoys a nice mug of hot chocolate no matter the weather.