Strategies for dealing with snack attacksBy Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/smart-snacking/MY02351
- With Mayo Clinic nutritionists
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.read biographyclose window
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.Katherine Zeratsky and Jennifer Nelson
Jennifer K. Nelson, M.S., R.D., L.D., C.N.S.D.
Jennifer Nelson is your link to a better diet. As specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, she plays a vital role in bringing you healthy recipes and meal planning.
"Nutrition is one way people have direct control over the quality of their lives," she says. "I hope to translate the science of nutrition into ways that people can select and prepare great-tasting foods that help maintain health and treat disease."
A St. Paul, Minn., native, she has been with Mayo Clinic since 1978, and is director of clinical dietetics and an associate professor of nutrition at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.
She leads clinical nutrition efforts for a staff of more than 60 clinical dietitians and nine dietetic technicians and oversees nutrition services, staffing, strategic and financial planning, and quality improvement. Nelson was co-editor of the "Mayo Clinic Diet" and the James Beard Foundation Award-winning "The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook." She has been a contributing author to and reviewer of many other Mayo Clinic books, including "Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight for EveryBody," "The Mayo Clinic Family Health Book" and "The Mayo Clinic/Williams Sonoma Cookbook." She contributes to the strategic direction of the Food & Nutrition Center, which includes creating recipes and menus, reviewing nutrition content of various articles, and providing expert answers to nutrition questions.
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
As a specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, Katherine Zeratsky helps you sort through the facts and figures, the fads and the hype to learn more about nutrition and diet.
A Marinette, Wis., native, she is certified in dietetics by the state of Minnesota and the American Dietetic Association. She has been with Mayo Clinic since 1999.
She's active in nutrition-related curriculum and course development in wellness nutrition at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and nutrition related to weight management and practical applications of nutrition-related lifestyle changes.
Other areas of interest include food and nutrition for all life stages, active lifestyles and the culinary arts.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, served a dietetic internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and worked as a registered dietitian and health risk counselor at ThedaCare of Appleton, Wis., before joining the Mayo Clinic staff.
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Jan. 23, 2013
Strategies for dealing with snack attacks
By Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.
It's a couple of hours past dinner and you wander into the kitchen and open the cupboards looking for a snack. You're not alone. More than half of Americans are doing the same thing — snacking on impulse or as a treat or for no particular reason at all. That doesn't bode well for our waistlines.
Does that mean snacking is bad? Not necessarily. Snacking can be a strategy to control hunger and overall calorie intake, if done smartly.
Snack because you are hungry. Not because it looks good, smells good, or that you know it tastes good. Remind yourself that the opportunity to eat that same snack will present itself another day. Call it success if you can indulge less often rather than at every opportunity.
Snack if you're routinely hungry at a certain time of day. Plan for it. Be prepared with a low-calorie snack with some redeeming qualities such as key nutrients. Try fruits and vegetables alone or in combination with a moderate portion of lean protein or healthy fat. Good options include low-fat yogurt, an ounce of cheese, hummus or a few nuts.
If you're not hungry, don't snack. Instead ask yourself why you're drawn to snacking. Here are common triggers — and ideas for dealing with them:
- Boredom? Try a new activity or tackle a few things on your to-do list.
- Anxious? Try some deep breathing or other stress-management techniques.
- Habit? Make a new one. Try exercising, playing a game or writing in a journal.
The next time a snack attack hits, ask yourself these questions: Are you hungry because you ate a light dinner three hours ago? Or do you and the chips have a regular date on the couch? If so, what else could fill your time before bed? Or are you just tired and need to go to bed?
Lastly, be honest with yourself. If you're going to snack despite all of the above, choose low-calorie snacks, such as raw veggies, and munch away.
To your health,
- Snacking in America. Hartman Group. http://www.hartman-group.com/hartbeat/snacking-in-america-infographic. Accessed Jan. 21, 2013.