Healthy Alternatives to Conventional Snacks – Creating New Habits

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Chia Pudding - Healthy Alternative SnacksContrary to popular opinion, healthy alternatives to conventional snacks are mainstream. Here are the reasons why. First, healthy snacks have fewer additives and preservatives. Second, they have less sodium and sugar. Another reason is this. Healthy snacks can lower blood pressure and stabilize blood sugar. For weight watchers this is key. Healthy Alternatives to Conventional Snacks is key.

Conventional snacks are unhealthy. Here are the reasons why. In spite of taste, they have high fructose, sucrose and dextrose. Furthermore, they cause obesity, diabetes and increase dental problems. As a result, health and fitness enthusiasts encourage healthy alternatives to conventional snacks.

The Washburn Ballon Experiment

Back in 1912, a researcher, A.L. Washburn, swallowed a balloon after fasting. At that time, the balloon inflated using an air tube to simulate a full stomach. As a result, he stopped getting hungry for a few hours. After some time had passed, his hunger returned. So, what did this experiment conclude? Consequently, it proved that hunger isn’t caused by an empty stomach. Many other circumstances cause hunger.

Three Biological Factors of Hunger

According to the Oxford dictionary, hunger is a feeling of discomfort or weakness. Lack of food, coupled with the desire to eat, also causes hunger. The physical sensation of hunger comes from the contractions of the stomach muscles. The Washburn Theory confirmed that there are three biological factors that influence hunger:

1) Brain

2) Digestive system

3) Hormones

Hypothalamus, the Ghrelin and Cortisol Hormones.

This process of hunger and fullness comes from the tiny region in the center of the brain called the Hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is the main area in the brain that controls appetite. Firstly, it receives chemical signals from the brain for fullness or hunger. Next, it sends chemical responses to regulate these feelings. In addition, the hunger pains cause contractions of the stomach when it’s empty.

Not only does the contractions trigger high concentrations of the Ghrelin, but the hunger pangs also indicate a need to eat. In conclusion, healthy snacks keep you full until the next meal.

Ghrelin Hormones:

Ghrelin is another hormone secreted and released by the stomach. Small amounts get released by the small intestines, pancreas and brain. It has many functions. This is the workings of the hunger hormone. It stimulates appetite, increases food intake and promotes fat storage.

Cortisol: (aka) The Stress Hormone

Cortisol is a naturally occurring steroid hormone. It plays a key-role in the body’s stress hormone. While it’s a stress-hormone, it also regulates other body functions. It regulates blood pressure, glucose and the immune system. But too much cortisol has an adverse effect on the body. Also, there are other types of hunger.

What are the Three Types of Hunger?

Do you always feel hungry? Have no fear. You may have excessive hunger you have polyphagia. Everyone has hunger at some point. Hunger can have causes that aren’t due to underlying disease. For example, not eating a meal on time. In addition, lack of access to food, dieting or a growth spirit causes hunger.

  1. Stomach hunger: (physical or medical necessity to eat)
  2. Mouth hunger: (craving related to senses)
  3. Heart hunger: (emotional trigger or learned behavior)Girl - Eating Food

According to UN Hunger Report, hunger is when populations are experiencing food insecurity.

What Elements Can Trigger Your Hunger Pangs

When you are angry and hungry you are having hanger pangs. These pangs can be tipped off by many things. The most common causes of hunger pangs are from Medication, Thyroid dysfunction, Stress-related conditions, Emotional flareups, Pregnancy, eating too quickly, Low blood sugar, Inadequate sleep, Jet lag, Crash diet, Dehydration and lastly, Seeing and smelling foods (Does the smell of freshly, buttered popcorn whet your appetite?). What snacks do you crave when you are hungry? I like apple slices dipped in peanut butter. Apples crave my cravings.

There are several ways to stop cravings.

Do you have cravings for certain foods? No worries. This too shall pass. My last big craving started a few years. The favorite part of the day was going through Taco Bell’s Drive-Thru. Every morning before work and on my way back to Lake Elsinore. In retrospect, this is what you call an addiction. A foodie for short. I’d wake up each morning with tacos and quesadillas on my mind. The cravings got me 30 pounds of extra weight. Here are a few craving hacks:

  • Reduce Stress
  • Get plenty of regular sleep
  • Plan meals ahead
  • Balance your meals
  • Drink plenty of water

Pay attention to Cravings

My daughter is a night owl; especially during middle school. During the night she raided the fridge and ate everything in sight. She obsessed with Italian foods, Spaghetti, Meat Balls, Lasagna and her most favorite – pizza. She likes all of it at any temperature – hot, cold, reheated and frozen. The problem is she eats late at night and refuses to get up for school. She’s grown now. It’s not my problem anymore. Sleep is necessary when you have cravings. In addition, meal preparation is key.

Meal Preparation Matters

Meal balance and preparation is quintessential when you have uncontrollable cravings. Stay ahead of the game. For example, make overnight oats. Prepare them at night. Presto. They are ready to eat in the morning. In addition, prepare meals for the next 3-4 days. You won’t be caught off guard. You can cut apples, cantaloupe, mangoes ahead of time. Dice up your cooked chicken or fish days ahead. Watch portion size. You’ll be fine. Eliminate packaged foods and high fructose drinks. Add fresh water and lots of plant-based foods.

Drink plenty of water. Cravings mean you need to drink enough water. Water is filling. Drink more water. Have less cravings. Pack a thermos or bottled water with your meals.  Eliminate sodas or high fructose drinks. Too much sugar causes cravings. Have low sugar, low sodium snacks on hand.  Better yet, keep a bowl of fresh fruit in arms reach at all times. It’s as simple as that.

Healthy Alternatives to Conventional Snacks

There is a whole new world of super nutritional snacks to swap out for a happier, healthier lifestyle. They pack a lot more of nutritious ingredients that have WAY less sugar and salt content. I tend to lean toward snacks that have less sodium such as:

The Characteristics of Hunger

  1. Always feeling hungry or excessive hunger is called polyphagia.
  2. Hunger can be triggered by multiple physiological or pathological processes.
  3. Hunger and appetite are regulated by complex reactions between the endocrine, digestive and neurological systems.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Hunger?

Have you ever experienced shakiness, weakness or fatigue and didn’t know what was happening to your body? You may have felt like you were going to pass out. We all have been there at some point in our lives.

  1. When you are running on fumes, staying up all night, studying for your final exams.
  2. When you are trying to meet a deadline for your boss’s upcoming job fair.
  3. And suddenly it hits you, you can hear your stomach growling. It sounds like a thunderstorm.
  4. That growling sound is the chemical reaction that takes place in the body when hunger strikes. It’s time for a snack!

One of my favorites is rice cake with a spread of “Laughing Cow” cheese on top. Hmm… yummy. You could also top these off with hummus or any low-sugared jam.

My Take Home to You

Transitioning from conventional snacks to healthier alternatives, can be one of the best changes in your life. In the long run, it will prove to be a benefit to your overall health and well-being. By eating balanced, nutritional meals and healthier snacks, coupled with enough sleep, regular exercise and drinking adequate amounts of water, you are paving the way for a happier, healthier future for you and your loved ones.

Thank you for joining me on this healthy alternative snacks journey. Enjoy your delicious snacks.

If you like this post and want more information about this topic, feel free to send me an email or leave me a comment below. I would be more than glad to correspond with you.

Rachele, Founder



2 thoughts on “Healthy Alternatives to Conventional Snacks – Creating New Habits”

  1. As a huge fan of snacks, I think this article was just the right one for me, it had everything I needed to help me. I have always had a snacking problem. This has continued for years now. It was fun learning the types of hunger as well. I even had to share this piece and also save it on my bookmarks as well

    • Hi there, Colly

      You and I both are big fans of snacks. What I have found out is that snacks can play a positive role in our diets, especially if they are healthy snacks. So, have no worries, snacks can be healthy alternatives to conventional snacks. Thank you for joining me on a wholesome, healthy snack journey.



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