Several times a year here at Sweat4Health we have various nutritional challenges, this time its snacks. Delicious snack foods are everywhere and they are a big contributing factor to obesity and poor nutrition.
No salty or sweet snacks in February
Sweet Rules: Nothing man-made that is sweet as a snack. No snickers bars, M&Ms, cookies, cake or sodapop between meals. No you cant have those cookies with artificial sweeteners as snacks either, they are still sweet so they are outlawed as snacks in this challenge. Fruit is sweet but it is not man-made so fruit is allowed as a snack. With meals you can have dessert, thats fine, just no sweet snacks between meals.
Salt Rules: Chips, crisps, pretzels, peanuts, crackers, goldfish, and virtually everything in the bagged snack food aisle at the store is off limits as a snack. If its salty, you cant snack on it. Anything that says "low salt" you cannot have either because it has SALT in it :) With meals you can have whatever salty things you want but between meals, nothing salty.
Why do this challenge?
Good question! In the book "Salt, Sugar, Fat" by Michael Moss he gives many, many examples of how modern snack foods are engineered to be irresistible. The "bliss point" for sugar is a well studied phenomenon and snack food makers provide the optimal amount of sugar to make sure that the first cookie you eat makes you want to polish off the whole bag. Every aspect of a potato chip or cookie is engineered to make you want to polish off the whole bag - the texture, the mouth feel, the salt, the artificial flavors. When fully a third of the developed world is obese, the last thing we need is irresistible tasting snacks full of simple carbs.
One of the most successful ways to lose fat is the healthy substitution method. Rather than redesign your entire nutritional plan to make it flawless ... and impossible to stick to, you just take a few items you eat on a regular basis that are unhealthy or high in calories and you substitute something healthier or lower in calories. It doesnt take large changes to lose weight, making very small changes is often all that is required. Substituting water for your daily two cans of Coke can do it. Substituting carrots for your daily and potato chips as a snack can do it as well. No need to eat like a Monk, just a few simple changes can help shed the pounds.
Thanks to S4H member Andreas for this awesome health challenge idea!