We know that when the urge to occupy your hands and mouth hits, you need to find a cigarette substitute, stat.
Keep these 7 healthy options handy for your next snack attack and you'll reap the benefits of healthier eating as well as distracting yourself from feeling like you need to smoke a cigarette.
1. Chopped veggies
Full of fibre, vitamins and minerals, fresh chopped veggies can help with more than just cigarette cravings. By upping your intake, you can also help curb cravings for sugar and other unhealthy foods, meaning you’ll feel better all over as you continue to stay cigarette-free.
Slice up whatever takes your fancy – capsicum, carrots, celery, cucumber – throw in some whole cherry tomatoes and pop them in a snaplock bag or reusable container for a quick, nutrient-rich hit on the go.
Grapes are sweet and satisfying. Pop them in your mouth and enjoy the crunch. Try freezing your grapes too – they taste like frozen sorbet and are a great alternative to ice-cream.
Black grapes are an especially good choice as they contain a type of antioxidant called polyphenols, which have lots of benefits for your heart and overall health.
3. Mixed nuts
Almonds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios and macadamias are packed with protein, healthy fats and fibre, making them an extra-satisfying healthy snack. Choose your favourite or mix them up. Aim for one small handful at a time — while nuts are full of goodness, they're also quite calorie dense.
It's best to buy your nuts unsalted and unroasted. Try toasting them yourself at home and tossing with some smoked paprika or chilli for an extra flavour hit.
4. Soda water with fresh fruit
Everyone can do with a bit of fizz in their day! Plain soda or mineral water with some fresh berries or citrus slices is a great alternative to sugary fruit juice or soft drink. It will keep you hydrated, and the fizz helps you feel fuller.
Get creative with different combinations: try strawberry and basil, orange and mint, or blueberries with a splash of lemon.
Packed with fibre and vitamin C, apples are a great go-to.
Cheap, easily portable and far better than a bag of chips, there's lots of good reasons for the old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”!
6. Hummus and whole-grain crackers
Hummus is rich in protein, fibre and vitamins, and the dipping action is a good distraction for your hands.
Read labels carefully though, and pick hummus and crackers that aren't loaded with extra salt and oils.
Better yet, make your own hummus by blending a drained can of chickpeas with some garlic, lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil – it takes less than 1 minute! Then use some of your chopped veggies as dippers for a double-dose of health.
7. Greek yoghurt
Creamy Greek yoghurt has plenty of protein to fill you up, good-for-your-gut probiotics and a healthy dose of bone-building calcium.
Jazz up your yoghurt with a drizzle of honey, some fresh fruit or a sprinkling of nuts, and then eat it with a small spoon to keep your hands busier for longer.
Being prepared is key to staying on track to quitting and succeeding in becoming a non-smoker. You’re also up to 4x more likely to succeed in quitting with the support of your healthcare professional compared to quitting unaided, so make an appointment with your doctor today.1