Curb the Urge to Snack with These 7 Tips

Monday Dec 8 | BY |
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Too much snacking can derail your weight loss goals.

You’re hungry. You just ate an hour or so ago, but you’re hungry.

At least, that’s what your brain and/or belly are telling you.

You try to snack smart, but maybe you’re gaining weight anyway.

Maybe you’re snacking because of cravings for foods that definitely aren’t good for you.

It’s time to give up relying on willpower—it rarely works in the long term. Instead, try some of the following tips to help your body and mind stay satisfied, even without the snacks.

Snacking Can Contribute to Weight Gain

Snacking can be good for you in some ways, if you snack healthy and balance your blood sugar levels. But it can also contribute to a few excess pounds. If you tend to be sedentary for much of the day (working, commuting, relaxing), you may be more likely to notice this affect, as your body simply doesn’t need that many calories to do it’s job. The excess ends up stored as fat.

Snacking can also be healthy if it helps you eat less at meals, but studies have shown that’s rarely the case. Typically, participants eat the same amount at dinner whether they snack or not.

To help you change your snacking behaviors, try these 7 tips:

  1. Drink: Not talking alcohol here. Your best bets are water and tea. When you feel the urge to snack, drink a tall glass of water or try a nice hot cup of tea. (This works especially well for nighttime snackers.) Sometimes even mild dehydration can make you think you’re hungry—some healthy liquids can curb that hunger before you reach for something you’ll regret.
  2. Move: So many of us work at desk jobs these days, and sometimes what we’re working on is not all that exciting. This is when your brain can shout at you to snack, just to break up the monotony. Try getting up from your chair and moving. Take a walk around the building, do a few laps on the stairs, or get outside, even for five minutes, and see if your brain forgets about food.
  3. Distract yourself: Try something sensory to fill that urge to eat. Listen to your favorite music, journal, doodle, work on a puzzle, burn a nice-smelling candle, put on a favorite sweater or other item of clothing, sniff some of your favorite essential oils, turn on a back massager (those that sit in your office chair can be very helpful), file or paint your nails, or watch a funny video. Laughter can quickly help you forget about being hungry. Whatever you do, do it for at least five minutes—that’s how long it usually takes to get past a craving.
  4. Get enough sleep: This one is so important! When you don’t get enough sleep, your hormones get out of whack, which stimulates your brain to want to eat more. Keep regular bedtimes and waking times and create a sleep-friendly atmosphere in your room—minus cell phones, computers, and televisions. On those days where you’re sleep deprived, if you feel the urge to snack, see if you can take a quick 20-minute power nap. That will likely do the trick.
  5. Brush your teeth: You’ve probably heard of this one. It’s popular because it works! Not only is it good for your teeth (as long as you don’t brush after drinking something acidic, like soda), it helps discourage you from messing up that fresh-smelling mouth with more food.
  6. Go somewhere else: Changing your environment can help stimulate your brain with other cues unrelated to food. If you’re in the kitchen, move to the bedroom and do some dusting. If you’re in the office, get outside in the sunshine. If you’re in your easy chair at night, get up and go take a warm bath or shower. Give your brain something else to look at, smell, and touch.
  7. Snack healthy: If none of the above tips work, and you’re still intent on snacking, make it something healthy. Nuts are the perfect solution as you can take them anywhere, they’re extremely nutritious, and they help balance blood sugar levels to keep you satisfied. Just don’t eat too many, as they are high in fat and can derail your weight loss efforts. Choose a handful and put the package away. Other healthy options include cut-up veggies, a square of dark chocolate, apple slices with almond butter, berries or any other fruit, and sliced natural turkey with avocado.

Do you have tips for curbing the urge to snack? Please share them!

Colleen M. Story

Colleen M. Story

Colleen M. Story, a northwest-based writer, editor, and ghostwriter, has been creating non-fiction materials for individuals, corporations, and commercial magazines for over 17 years. She specializes in the health and wellness field, where she writes and ghostwrites books, e-books, blogs, magazine articles, and more.

Colleen is the founder of Writing and Wellness. Her fantasy novel, “Rise of the Sidenah,” was released with Jupiter Gardens Press in September 2015. Her literary novel, “Loreena’s Gift,” is forthcoming in spring 2016 from Dzanc Books. She lives in Idaho.

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