If you’re like me, you are always on the run. Too often you may find yourself grabbing fast food, a quick sugar fix or something that’s processed—even if it’s a box of healthy crackers—to fill that craving. What I’m aware of, but slowly trying to adapt to, is the fact that cravings can lead to lifelong poor eating habits.
In her blog, The Pleasure Trap of Food, Carol Ebert shared how to create a habit of eating healthy foods so it becomes automatic and without thought: “Stop letting your prefrontal cortex decide when your low blood sugar is causing cravings” she advises. “Switch your food focus to the basal ganglia where habits are formed. In other words, eating will become automatic based on those habits and won’t require any other invading thought that might want you to eat junk food instead.”
I love the science behind this—and also appreciate that science can help me change my habits—but I struggle to get started. As a business owner (24/7) with a family I’m trying to make sense of where I should start. So I decided to take a deep breath and tackle what I could one day at a time. This began with incorporating healthy snacks on the go. So I scheduled in to my week, yes you heard me, time to shop for good foods and prep them so I have some things to tote with me and keep at home when I’m hungry. I got this and other great ideas from a few inspiring women, who have posted numerous blogs on this site.
Susan Howard is a busy career woman and new mom who continues to prioritize and model a healthy lifestyle. I am always impressed with her each time we talk, especially with how much she juggles—long, long work hours and weekends and a new baby, too! Still she knows the importance of staying active in order to bring her best to her family and work.
“I always keep green tea, nuts, and dried fruit in a desk drawer,” she explains. “I like to also have cottage cheese and hummus in the office fridge.” Susan takes time each week to prep and keep healthy snacks available so she doesn’t resort to noshing on the no-good. “You will inevitably get hungry outside of your lunch break. It’s best to have healthy snacks at the ready!”
I couldn’t agree more!
Certified Holistic Health Coach & Personal Trainer, Jordana Rae, shares with her clients a list of simple snack ideas (along with caloric intake) that they can grab and go. I was lucky enough to get the list and already used it as a shopping guide. Veggie and Lentil Chips along with Beanitos were a few nonperishables I stocked up on to stash in my laptop bag, purse and car. When I don’t have a lot of time to spare, these snacks, in moderation, can serve as a healthy snack in between meals or alongside my favorite lunch—a veggie burger!
As a nurse and wellness coach, Carol Ebert models the healthy lifestyle she helps her executive clients achieve. “My personal example of a healthy snack when I get a sugar craving is sliced apples and cashews. I now am so ‘addicted’ to that food that it has become an automatic response, which replaces my previous addiction to a Snickers bar.”
So of course, I took Carol’s advice and incorporated both into my weekly shopping plan. I know she’s a huge proponent of using science to fuel good choices and helps us retrain our brains to create healthy habits that are an automatic response versus falling into the trap of craving poor choices. After talking with Carol and re-reading her articles I’m starting to notice that I am thinking more about my snack choices. To be honest with you, and myself, I didn’t before. Instead, I found a way to justify poorer choices—my favorite being the Scarlet O’Hara method of worrying about it tomorrow.
Perhaps this article resonates with you. You find yourself feeding your hunger with the wrong things when you are stressed or rushed. While we’ll never be perfect, we can do better. I’ll share more as my journey continues, and as I query for more expertise, but I welcome your ideas and suggestions. As busy career professionals, let’s work together to build a healthy career and share ways to do so, beginning right here with healthy snacks on the go.
Kim Monaghan, PCC, RYT, CPBS is the owner of KBM Coaching & Consulting LLC, a boutique Human Resources Consulting and Career Coaching Firm serving a national clientele.