WIAW 35: Incidental snacking

Happy What I ate Wednesday.

I’ve got a bit of a focus to my WIAW today: thinking about incidental snacking – you know that teaspoon of peanut butter you eat while you are waiting for your toast, or that chicken nugget left on your kiddie’s plate that would be a shame to throw out.

It all adds up you know.

Now incidental snacking is my worst habit (apart from perhaps biting my nails – Ben, if you’re reading this, no comments please). My meals are healthy, but when I’m hungry and impatient for dinner I find myself with hands everywhere shovelling whatever I can find into my mouth.  Can anyone out there say ‘AMEN’?

The trouble is, then we forget about these nibbles here and there – it’s commonly known as FOOD AMNESIA.  Just consider for a moment how it adds up:

  • 1tsp peanut butter while waiting for the toast = 30 calories
  • 1 wrapped chocolate from a box that’s doing the rounds at the office = 50 calories
  • 3 finger dips into a pot of hummus = 95 calories
  • 2 tbsp leftover cheese sauce scraped from the pan = 16 calories
  • 1 tbsp leftover cake batter wiped from the bowl = 16 calories
  • 3 tsp bolognese ‘to taste’ = 48 calories
  • 1 small boiled sweet = 20 calories


So, I’m trying to fall into better habits, and avoid mindless nibbling.


I used to be sooooo good at this, but that was in my ED phase – everything I ate went into the food diary, a crisp from Ben’s packet, a bite of his sandwich.  Then I stopped eating it because I would have to write it in my diary, and God forbid I filled a page with a day’s eats.  Then I became fearful of extra bites.

I could test myself by going into places where there would be free food – markets, church (tea and biccies afterwards), I would pass the cakes at work and know for certain there was no way they were going anywhere near my mouth.

Anyway, it’s the mindless snacking that started gradually and now is problematic.  Do you track all those little bites in your WIAW?  Or do you avoid – whether actively or it just doesn’t happen – these issues/habits?

Here is my WIAW from Monday:

What I ate Wednesday 35

What I ate Wednesday 35

  • Breakfast: Ok, sorry it’s a bit blurry, but my breakfast was porridge made with egg white and one egg for sustainable energy.  There was half a banana in there, made with water and semi-skimmed milk. I topped it with some Ezekiel 4:9 Cereal Cinnamon Raisin granola, a dollop of ricotta and a tsp of chocolate topping leftover from baking at the weekend. I thought if I got my sweet treat in early it would get me through. I confess I had a nibble of shortbread while it cooked – the edge was wonky, so I had to do it for my OCD.
  • Lunch: Lunch was early as I had pilates at 1.00, and I couldnt’ hold out until 2pm to eat. I had managed to stay away from snacking, but the colder weather has made me more hungry.  In my lunchbox was romaine lettuce, leftover veg from Sunday’s liver stew, a raw organic carrot and homemade chickpea and beetroot puree – sort of hummus but with only those two ingredients.  I considered saving my yogurt and apple until after the class, but I ate it there and then.
  • Pilates: It was body weight exercises with a focus on hip bridge – thankfully I wasn’t so full it affected my workout.
  • Kale chips: I remembered that I’d forgotten my kale chips when I ate my lunch, so I gobbled them up when I got back.
  • Pump and X-biking: After the kale chips I didn’t snack before I went to the gym.  BodyPump, where I upped my weights in some tracks, with an amusing episode when I put some extra weight on the bar outside the clips during the bicep track. Two thirds of the way through I was feeling it, and I knew my form was going, so I subtly tried to slide the plates off the bar during the final ‘rest/shoulder roll’. But would it come off?  Would it heck?  I ended up kicking it off with my foot 🙂 Of course, I was front row right in front of the instructor. I had the two instructors and my friend next to me in stitches.  ‘Slick’ is my middle name – NOT! Then x-biking to finish me off.
  • Dinner:  Ok, so my good intentions fell apart while dinner was cooking.  I nibbled some veg as I chopped it up.  While I was having veg and marinated salmon, Ben was having turkey noodle stir fry, so I tasted the noodle make sure they cooked; then I made the sauce and tasted to check it was good; it needed more sauce so I adapted it and had to taste again. I don’t [eat] dessert, but Ben has to have something, so I tasted the chocolate pudding I made before giving it to him.  Humph!

Some suggestions for avoiding mindless nibbles:

  1. keep a food diary and write down every single mouthful = I’m reluctant to do this because of my past history of ED, and I see this as a trigger
  2. eat sugar-free gum when you know you might graze = I hate to chew gum when I’m hungry, it just makes my tummy expect food and makes my hunger worse.
  3. munch healthy foods such as mangetout, tomatoes, or berries when the craving strikes = I do eat nibbles of veg while I make dinner, but I think that just encourages the behaviour

Do you mindlessly nibble in these situations?

Do you have any suggestions for dealing with mindless nibbling?

Got any embarrassing exercise related stories?


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8 thoughts on “WIAW 35: Incidental snacking

  1. brokencookiesdontcount October 15, 2014 at 12:30 pm Reply

    Oh, those little nibbles can certainly get us. It’s always an issue for me. I keep working at it!

    • Emily Hawkes October 16, 2014 at 10:50 am Reply

      Thanks, any tips gratefully received 🙂

  2. Arman @ thebigmansworld October 16, 2014 at 3:25 am Reply

    I think for those who have a restrictive past, taking nibbles and bites is something to be seen in positive light- you said it yourself how you used to meticulously jot it down or avoid it all together. I snack all the time, especially when I’m recipe developing or at work (that;’s the worst haha).

    • Emily Hawkes October 27, 2014 at 12:30 pm Reply

      Glad I’m not the only one 🙂 xx

  3. athleticavocado October 17, 2014 at 12:11 am Reply

    i think everyone snacks unintentionally most of the time! we are all human!

  4. Julie @ WolfItDown November 1, 2014 at 9:33 pm Reply

    I used to count calories for a couple of years, taking note of everything, to make sure I got enough nutrition, but then it took overhand and I became too obsessed about it. Now though, I eat with my common sense, don’t jot anything down or calculate the calories, but simply make sure I get my five a day, good sources of protein, and allow myself to have a treat every now and again 🙂 Sometimes it gets a bit frustrating, knowing what I used to be like, but I suppose it is all a matter of getting used to thinking in a different way, it was tricky at first, but I am learning slowly, and making delicious meals, just like it seems like you are doing as well 😀 x

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