The munchies get a bad rap. We’re here to save their reputation by offering health-conscious alternatives to your undeniable, sweet-salty cravings.
What are the Munchies?
The post-bong hit phenomenon we call the munchies is actually an endocannabinoid response to various chemicals in marijuana, such as THC. THC interacts with receptors in the brain that control appetite, releasing hormones that increase hunger. Weed also increases the release of dopamine which makes the act of eating more enjoyable. To add insult to injury, your body thinks it is starving, so it craves high-fat, high-calorie foods. With all of these factors at play, you can end up halfway through your snack cabinet before you can say “half-baked.”
Lucky for you, a little preparation can go a long way to prevent overindulging. Check out these tips for healthy munchies—or at least healthier.
Put Down the Processed Food
Whether vegan or not, we can all benefit from eating less packaged food and more whole foods. The key to staying away from the salt and preservative-laden stuff is to be prepared. A pre-smoke-session stop in the produce section will set you up for success. Stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. Choosing low-calorie snacks over high-fat dairy and meats will help stave off those feelings of regret after scarfing a large meat lovers pizza. Even if you end up eating the whole bag of grapes, at least it wasn’t a bag of cookies.
If you’re hankering for richer options, try foods high in healthy fats, such as hard-boiled eggs, nuts or avocados. Try guacamole with chopped veggies, baked sweet potatoes rubbed in coconut oil, or a nut and seed spread with whole grain crackers.
Opt to Eat In
Cancel the Postmates order and get to work in the kitchen. Having maximum control over the ingredients and preparation can help you make lighter choices for your late-night snack sesh. My go-to stoner meal is a salad packed with nuts, juicy veggies, lean protein and a flavorful dressing. There are few things better than the satisfying and methodical crunch-crunch-crunch of eating a salad while stoned. A hummus plate with veggies, air-popped popcorn, and seasoned roasted chickpeas are quick and easy snacks to make at home that won’t force you to loosen your belt.
Hydration is Key
Munchies and intense thirst go hand in hand, so ensuring you are properly hydrated will go a long way to curb hunger. Coincidentally, that gigantic healthy salad does more than just pack a nutritional punch. Lettuce is 96 percent water, so you are chopping two carrots with one knife (that’s a vegan joke.) Fruits like watermelon, pineapple, mango and pears are also extremely hydrating and quite effective at satisfying your sweet tooth. Super bonus: broccoli and mangoes reportedly enhance your high. Sip on flavorful beverages like kombucha, smoothies and teas, but don’t forget to drink plain water, too.
Getting outside and away from the pantry is beneficial in multiple ways. Focusing on your evening stroll distracts you from your intense desire to binge on Hot Cheetos, and you have the added health benefit of getting your steps in.
Feeling extra motivated to hit the gym? Certain strains can help boost motivation and energy before you workout. While we wouldn’t recommend toking up before a big game, we welcome the extra boost to get off the couch and into running gear. A peaceful yoga class is another great way to enjoy the buzz and burn some calories.
You don’t have to make healthy choices all of the time. Find yourself craving an indulgent snack of chocolate and cheese? Choose a reasonable portion size, and stick to it. Supplement with popcorn and fruit for a well-balanced snack without feeling restricted. By balancing small amounts of treats with healthy options, you reduce the likelihood that you’ll binge on junk later.
Making healthy substitutions for your favorite treats can save you from the buzzkill of indigestion. Can’t help but eat the entire pint of ice cream? We’ve all been there. Reaching for low-calorie, high-protein options such as Halo Top and Enlightened, or fruit-based alternatives such as sorbet, will ensure the damage is minimal.
When your plan is to eat things that get you high, vegan options for edibles are widely available or easy to make at home. The popular Wyld gummies are perfectly packaged and made from real fruit. Wana gummies, Gron dark chocolate varieties, and Mr. Moxey’s Mints offer sweet vegan alternatives to brownies and cookies.
If you’re not a strict vegan, cannabis honey is easy to DIY and provides many health benefits. Honey is naturally antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and alleviates allergies. Combined with the medical benefits of marijuana, we don’t feel bad about adding this honey to our mug of Sleepytime tea.
Keep Calm and Snack On
There are plenty of ways to make nutritious, low-calorie choices when you’re hit with a killer case of the munchies. And when all else fails, go to sleep. You can’t eat while you are sleeping (except for that one time in college).