How to Stop Snacking
According to recent research, snacking contributes close to ⅓ of our daily caloric intake. If you find yourself snacking all day rather than eating real meals or in addition to eating full meals, you’re not alone.
While certain snacks can be healthy, they shouldn’t take the place of balanced meals. If they are, you’ll probably find yourself feeling unsatisfied and losing structure with your fasting routine.
In a randomized study, it was found that increased snacking may slow down weight loss.
Depending on the type of snack, it can lead to excess consumption of calories particularly from sugar and salt. Too many snacks may also replace more nutritious, whole foods in your diet such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
But, there are ways to get your snacking back under control and still feel satisfied with what you’re eating.
Here are 8 ways to stop snacking:
1. Create structure in your day
If your schedule is not consistent, you may not have a plan in place for what you’re going to eat. If you’re just flying by the seat of your pants, this can lead to reaching for snacks instead of eating actual meals. When you’re starving, it’s simply easier and faster to grab what’s in front of you.
Instead, create more structure in your day regarding your meals. Set a schedule of how many meals a day you’re going to have based on your fasting schedule. Try it out for a few weeks and make sure it works for you. Drink water during the times you are not eating while you’re adjusting to the routine, this can help you stay full.
2. Eat balanced meals
When it comes to any fasting and feeding protocol, what you eat is just as important as when you eat. Building your meals around nutritious foods that satiate you will reduce your snack cravings. All calories are not created equal!
When you’re planning your meals, make sure they are well balanced. A balanced meal consists of lean protein, whole grain carbohydrates, vegetables and healthy fats.
Protein: 4 ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast
Carbohydrate: ½ cup brown rice
Vegetable: 1 cup cooked spinach
Healthy Fat: 1 tablespoon olive oil, used in cooking
3. Don’t keep a lot of snacks in the house
Just the mere fact of knowing there are tasty snacks in the house increases our desire for them. Often, if you don’t keep snack foods in the house, it’s easier to forget about them.
If you’re really craving something, you have to make an effort to get it. This means you can enjoy it without being tempted to overdo it. If something is always available, it is easier to overeat.
4. Don’t leave your trigger foods within easy reach
The phrase “out of sight, out of mind” is immensely helpful when it comes to snacks. As humans, we eat first with our eyes, and so if you see a lot of snack foods around in plain sight, you are more likely to eat them. In fact, research proves this.
Alternatively, keep healthy food within easy reach. Leave pre-washed fruit out in a fruit basket and cut-up vegetables in ziploc bags in the fridge. When these foods are front and center, they will be the first to grab when hunger strikes.
5. Check in with yourself regularly
Get into a habit of tuning into your hunger regularly throughout the day. Every 3 hours, check in with yourself to assess your hunger. Using a hunger scale can be an effective way to do this. This is a tool that helps you assess your level of hunger on a scale of 1 to 10.
The best time to eat is when your hunger level is a 3 or 4 on the scale. If you wait too long, you’re more likely to grab for less than ideal snacks that are around to curb that hunger quickly.
Most of us don’t drink enough water. Signals of thirst can be very similar to hunger signals. If you’re not drinking enough water throughout the day, this can lead to more snack cravings and stomach sensations that feel like hunger.
Aim to drink ½ your body weight in ounces per day. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs, then divide by 2, your daily water goal would be 75 ounces per day.
If you’re craving a snack, try drinking a glass of water first and wait 10 minutes. You may find many times that feeling diminishes once you’re no longer dehydrated.
7. Eliminate distractions
We live in a busy, distracted world. Eating with distractions is very common. Sometimes we think of distracted eating as a way to be more productive by eating and working at the same time.
However, distracted eating increases your chances of overeating and weight gain.
If you’re eating in front of the tv, while working, or scrolling on your phone, you’re not able to pay as much attention to what and how much you’re eating.
Not only is this not an enjoyable way of eating, it can also lead to more snacking. Snack foods are easy to eat while doing other things. Before you know it you have eaten way more than you intended.
Instead, practice eating your meals without distractions. This helps significantly with the enjoyment factor, and helps you to become aware of when you’re getting full. It will be harder to keep snacking if you are intentionally focused on the act of eating without distractions.
8. Manage stress
Daily stresses can lead to using food to manage these feelings. While we can’t eliminate every stress in our lives, we can change how we handle it. By better managing your stress on a regular basis, you’ll be less likely to turn to snacks to decompress.
To manage stress, start with a daily self-care activity such as yoga, meditation, or reading a book. It doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Begin with 10 minutes a day and work your way up from there.
Planning and prioritizing healthy meals will reduce snack cravings. Balanced meals satisfy you for hours and provide steady fuel, bringing you the biggest results from fasting.
Moreover, building a good structure and food environment in your house sets you up for success in your health journey.
 Snack food, satiety, and weight
 Associations between snacking and weight loss and nutrient intake among postmenopausal overweight-to-obese women in a dietary weight loss intervention
 Effect of snack-food proximity on intake in general population samples with higher and lower cognitive resource
 Distracted eating may add to weight gain
Melissa Mitri, MS, RD
Melissa is a health writer with over 12 years of experience in the field of nutrition. She specializes in helping women move away from restrictive habits that lead to vicious yo-yo weight cycles. Melissa enjoys writing about health, nutrition, and fitness with the goal of simplifying complex health topics for the reader. You can find out more about Melissa at www.melissamitri.com.