As the nights draw in, there’s nothing nicer than snuggling up on the sofa around 9.00pm and watching Netflix. As soon as I sit though, I want snacks. It’s a Pavlovian style response that has me reaching for crisps, cakes, chocolate or bread and cheese, washed down with cold beer or wine if we have any.
I love relaxing on the sofa with my husband and I don’t want my weight to creep up over the winter with poor snacking habits. I know that the key to sustained habit change is to replace a bad habit with a better one. Simply trying to give something up creates a dangerous vacuum. I want to enjoy myself as we watch a film without any feelings of lack or deprivation.
I’ve therefore develop 4 habits to encourage health sofa snacking. The first habit is to ‘substitute’. I substitute my unhealthy snack choices for healthier ones. I simply don’t have unhealthy snacks or beer or wine in the house during the week. I make sure we have fresh fruit and veg available along with some easy to assemble healthy snacks choices. The sorts of snacks we might assemble are as follows:
- Crudités and homemade hummus
- Replace a Ritz cracker with a cucumber and add healthy toppings e.g. tuna, slices of boiled egg or low fat cheese
- A smorgasbord of different fruit all cut up into tiny portions
- Roasted baby new potatoes eaten cold with chilli flakes and black pepper
- Air cooked popcorn with nutritional yeast and a little salt
- Anything on cocktail sticks e.g. a tiny pickled onion and cheese or a mini tomato and an olive
Drinks are important too. In an effort to drink less alcohol, I tend to use ice-cubes, fresh mint leaves and lime wedges to turn a glass of sparkling water into something a bit more glam. Adding a paper straw and dash of elderflower or ginger cordial also raises the treat factor. There’s no feeling of deprivation and no grogginess either!
The next healthy sofa habit is to administer a bit of ‘self-care’. For starters, I have discovered that if I clean my teeth thoroughly before I sit down, I am less likely to want to snack. I also keep a little basket next to the sofa which contains hand cream, peppermint foot lotion, lip balm and moisturiser. Applying various delicious smelling lotions whilst I’m watching a film helps me relax. I feel like I’m having a treat and doing something good for myself without eating.
The next habit is to ‘side-track’ yourself with something that keeps your hands busy. This could be crocheting or knitting or enjoying an adult colouring book. If you’re watching something which isn’t so gripping, you could even take on an organising project like sorting out a small junk draw or tidying a recipe folder.
The final habit is to ‘succumb’. They say ‘a little of what you fancy does you good’ and I’m a big believer in little indulgences every now and again. So at least once a week, my husband and I will indulge in a treat and thoroughly enjoy it. We won’t eat lots of unhealthy snacks. Instead we try to eat treats that are delicious but also have some nutritional value. For example, we may enjoy a few chocolate Brazil nuts or some crackers topped with mature cheddar and a glass of wine or a cold beer.
I have created a printable for you to help you plan out your own healthy snacking habits. There is plenty of space to jot down your own ideas and find out what works for you.
If you’d like to see more of my printables, you can find me on Etsy. My shop is called ‘my year by design’ typed without any spaces.