Many who desire to control their weight don’t get the results they want by simply resolving to eat better meals. A common reason is impulse snacking.
I’m not against snacking. Completely eliminating something tends to make us want it more. I like to simply replace unhealthy, impulse snacking with well-planned snacks.
5 Ways To Snack Smarter
- Eat regularly. Not eating regular meals just sets you up for failure as far as impulsive snacking goes. Skip breakfast or work through the lunch hour and soon you can’t resist anything remotely edible within arm’s reach. The donuts and candy are enough of a temptation to begin with. Don’t make matters worse for yourself by neglecting a good eating schedule. If travel or your work schedule messes with today’s eating schedule, plan ahead and bring a simple sack lunch.
Eat well. Even eating regularly doesn’t mean you will be satisfied. Eating fast-food may give you a sense of being full yet leaves you nutrient deficient. Fatty, sugary “foods” won’t give you the sufficient micronutrients your body needs. So even if you feel full, your body still feels needy and will impulsively grab for more—and usually more junk food. Eating poor quality foods has made us a nation of overeaters. We need meals that include more whole, nutrient-dense vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.
Sip water. Regularly drinking water throughout the day helps to offset what we often interpret as hunger. Keep a good water bottle close by and build a habit of sipping. 4 ounces every 20 minutes is a good rate but don’t get hung up on the timing. Try to drink 32 ounces between meals. Determine how many refills of your water bottle that would take. Flavor your water if that helps with a slice of lemon or lime or essential oils. Drinking tea also counts.
Stay snack ready. Plan ahead with good snacks available so you don’t default to whatever is in the break room vending machine or at the checkout counter. And get rid of the junk at home so it’s not an option. Keep a stash of healthy snack options at your work place or in your backpack. A few whole grain crackers, baby carrots, celery slices, a small handful of nuts, a piece of fruit, hummus, popcorn, smoothie—all are great options. Schedule your snacks like your meals such as at mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Instead of eating your snack on the run, treat it like a meal and take a few moments to sit at a table and enjoy—it will help you to be intentional about the portions as well.
Curb the after-dinner snacking. My wife will bust me on this because this is my weakness—especially if watching a movie. Better to have a longer fast between dinner and breakfast to give your digestive system a break. And if you do choose to have a small snack occasionally, follow the same principles above—a small, pre-apportioned amount of a whole food.
You don’t have to eliminate—just replace. Don’t set yourself up for failure by eating nutrient-deficient food and at odd hours. Plan ahead deliberately. Eat purposely, not impulsively.
Question: How to you snack smarter and avoid impulse eating? Share your answer in the comments below.