Most of us are social-distancing and staying home, myself included. Yet I find myself mildly amused – and quite concerned actually – by all the memes and social media comments alluding to the fact that lots of folks are taking this as an excuse to load up on junk food.
I’ll admit that at times when the Nibble Monster arrives, I will succumb to some gluten-free crackers dipped in hummus or spread with almond butter. And because they are a packaged food – engineered to tickle the tastebuds and encourage gorging – I will eat a few too many of them.
What about you? Do you have trouble resisting the Cheetos or the chips? The ice cream or the Oreos? You might be someone who believes you deserve to treat yourself to those temptations because they’re somehow comforting. But you know deep down that those types of foods or beverages will ultimately tear your body down.
You’ve likely heard it said, “We are what we eat.” Accepting the truth of what that French philosopher, Brillat Savarin, once said, you realize it’s very important to pay attention to what you choose to put into your mouth. What you eat becomes the cells that make up your body!
How do you set yourself up for success, though, when the walls are closing in and your tummy seems to be rumbling?
First of all, you must decide on some guidelines – a framework – and decide to follow it. Quality food is essential to a healthy body.
Educate yourself about healthy alternatives to your favorite snack foods, and stock your pantry and fridge with whole, fresh foods. These include proteins, fats, and fiber-rich carbohydrates like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
Know what your trigger foods are, and don’t buy them in the first place and/or remove them from your environment.
Get excited about preparing your own meals and snacks. Research recipes online and block out some time in your day or week to put them together so that they’re available when the Nibble Monster bites.
A short break of physical activity such as walking or doing a few yoga poses can also interrupt a food craving. Physical effort helps your body metabolize stress hormones like cortisol and convinces your system that you’re safe.
The best solution I know of to not have cravings in the first place? Eat enough high-quality food at regular mealtimes. Know what foods work for your body to keep your blood sugar stable. Drink plenty of water and herb tea in between meals. And if you still find yourself searching for a snack, make sure it includes some healthy fat, fiber, and protein.
Here’s a recipe I made recently that fills that bill nicely….
Crunchy, Spicy Chickpeas
- 3 15-oz. cans organic chickpeas (or 4 ½ cups cooked chickpeas)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons good quality salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic granules
Preheat oven to 400º. Drain and rinse chickpeas and dry thoroughly on paper towels.
Spread chickpeas on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake them for 10-15 minutes to dry then out even further and make them crisper once they’re seasoned. Remove from oven.
In a separate bowl, mix all of the spices into the oil and mix well. Add the chickpeas and make sure they are all coated.
Spread them back out on the prepared baking sheet and roast for another 30-40 minutes or until crunchy. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.