Written by : Andrew Samuel

AS Malaysians continue to do their part to flatten the curve by staying at home, eating and snacking habits have changed, especially as many try to balance work from home with online learning and family time.

Findings from a recent survey show that snacking has become a source of comfort for many Malaysians.

Mondelez International (Malaysia) conducted a 2021 consumer survey on “Mindful Snacking” with Malaysians across various demographics and localities with 74 per cent of respondents admitting they snack to de-stress and unwind while over 40 per cent do so to curb hunger pangs in between meals.

The survey also shows that only 50 per cent feel portion control is crucial and when asked about the nutritional content of their snacks, only 3 in 10 Malaysians categorised it as important.

“Our purpose is to empower people to snack right. We want to help Malaysians feel good about what they snack on, while nurturing a more positive relationship with food,” says Mondelez International Southeast Asia nutrition lead, Lim Chain Yin.

Mindful Snacking is about slowing down and being fully present while savouring each bite with all your senses.

It is a behavioural approach that focuses on eating with intention and attention.

The survey also shows that 68 per cent of Malaysians prefer to snack alone with the majority indicating that they prefer to snack while watching television, surfing the net and while working or studying.

Discussing the survey findings, UCSI University senior lecturer, Associate Professor Dr Satvinder Kaur says we need to pay attention to our body’s internal cues or triggers such as “I am hungry”, “I am craving something sweet or savoury or sour”, “I am full”, and “I am satisfied”.

When we put some thought into understanding intent and need, we will establish a better relationship with food. For a balanced food intake, some methods we can practice include B.M.V. (Balance, Moderation, Variety) and the Quarter-Quarter Half Plate Guide.

“Mindful consumption of meals and snacks will prevent overeating and by following the healthy eating guide, our overall diet quality will improve,” she says.

In advocating good habits of Mindful Snacking, Mondelez International (Malaysia) has placed portion guidance and the “Snack Mindfully” icon on its product packaging to give consumers better clarity on portion size and calories per portion.

It has also introduced “portion control” packs and rolled out products with improved nutrition and ingredient profiles.

Mindful Snacking practices include:
*Portioning the snack and putting the rest away or choosing single, pre-wrapped servings
*Minimising distractions – such as snacking while watching TV or being on the phone or computer
*Smell and taste each bite
*Chew slowly and give full attention to each bite
*Notice the texture of the snack
*Finish the bite before taking the next one


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