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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 1999, MCB UP Limited
Giving in to mid-morning hunger is good for you - according to a recent report from the California Prune Board (who do, it must be admitted, have a vested interest in persuading people to snack). The report identifies how your snacking habits can shed light on some interesting personality traits!
The emotional snacker
Craving sugary snacks - snacking in the afternoon or evening or when an emotional crisis is looming, is a sure sign of an emotional snacker. Outgoing, friendly with a real zest for life, emotional snackers are prone to huge bursts of energy, which help push them to meet important deadlines. Snacking is often a means of dealing with pressure or a way of shutting out emotions such as depression, anger, boredom, loneliness or frustration. Emotional snackers need to feel loved and appreciated and can easily get stressed out and tired. Emotional snackers tend to work in highly pressurised jobs, often in the media!
The disorganised snacker
The disorganised snacker faces empty cupboards, frequently misses meals because of work, studies or social life, and snacks at any time of the day or night. Frequently misunderstood as absentminded or disorganised - the disorganised snacker simply has a lot on their plate and eating regular meals is low on their agenda. Often loners they sometimes seem cool and even stand-offish. They possess a lot of in-built stamina but some might call them selfish or self-absorbed and hard to get close to. Ambitious, hard working and well respected in their work, disorganised snackers are typified by the upwardly mobile female boss, bankers, lawyers and brokers.
The habitual snacker
Snacks served on a plate rather than on the run, daily, "elevenses" and "tea breaks" is the established routine followed by the habitual snacker. A bit of a traditionalist at heart, the habitual snacker is often highly opinionated and tends to be set in their ways. They enjoy the "niceties" of life and are charming as long as they receive the attention they crave and live for their family and home life.
"A little of what you fancy does you good", is a typical nibbler comment. Constantly snacking, munching through at least six mini meals, living life to the maxim, rarely getting stressed or anxious is the nibbler. Probably the healthiest type of snacker - they tend to stick to small portions but are wise enough to know that depriving themselves of something tempting just does not work! Usually easy-going and rarely prone to mood swings, nibblers are real "copers" who possess great reserves of stamina. Energetic and quite often athletic, they often choose a career related to sports or fitness. Busy housewives and mums are also likely to show the nibbler's snacking habits.
So according to the California Prune Board, we should forget the guilt associated with snacking between meals! Snacking little and often is actually a normal, natural human instinct, harking back to the days when our predecessors had to graze on whatever was going just to survive! Snacking actually helps us to cope with the trials and tribulations of the day. It can also be a means of helping people cope with the pressures of office life.
However, you may not be surprised to know that the California Prune Board also suggests that too many of us are snacking on the wrong kinds of foods. A great taste is more important than nutritional benefits so many snackers opt for sugar-filled snacks thinking it will boost their energy levels and wipe out the waves of tiredness that tend to wash over us at mid-morning, mid-afternoon and mid-evening - all key snack attack times.
But next time you reach for the chocolate bars remember that although there is that temporary sugar high in the first hour, in the second hour the opposite happens and your energy levels will decrease, leaving you feeling even more tired. Far better to tuck into a fruit snack (like energy packed California Prunes!) which will satisfy your sweet cravings and keep you on track with a healthy eating programme.