Do you often get the munchies and it’s hindering your weight loss progress?
I’m going to give you seven tips to stop snacking. And my last tip is a bit challenging to do, but it’ll make a big difference.
My name is Ivana and I share evidence-based fitness and nutrition tips on my channel every week.
What’s Wrong With Snacking?
Now there’s nothing wrong with snacking necessarily. If it’s in your plan and it fits into the caloric intake that you want to have for that day. But if you’re snacking too much and it’s keeping you from losing weight, then it can be a problem.
Snacking can be the result of physiological cravings, or it can just be out of habit.
So I’m going to deal with both of those things.
Make Sure You Have Enough Protein And Fat
And the first thing you want to do is make sure you have enough protein and fat in your meals.
You also want to make sure that you’re eating enough in general.
What you do early on in the day affect how you feel later on and whether or not you’re going to be craving something later on as well.
I don’t know anybody who snacks at breakfast time or first thing in the morning.
Snacking either comes up later in the afternoon or at night. So by fixing what you’re doing early on in the day, you can reduce your cravings later on.
So maybe you’re not eating enough early on in the day. And then you’re feeling really, really hungry. Or maybe you don’t eat enough calories at dinner. So you’re not satisfied by your dinner and you still feel hungry an hour or two hours afterwards.
Take a look at the composition of all the meals that you’re having, make sure that you have enough protein early on in the day.
Protein and fat increase the feeling of satiety, the feeling of fullness that you have after a meal.
If you’re just having something that’s primarily carbs, like a bowl of oatmeal, and you don’t put anything inside of it in order to balance those things out, then you might find that you’re craving things later on and then you’ll be more prone to snack.
Make Sure You Drink Enough Liquids To Reduce Snacking
My next tip is to make sure that you’re drinking enough liquids.
Now water should be the majority of what you’re drinking, but other zero calorie liquids are okay as well. So if you’re having coffee or tea without any additives, then that’s perfectly okay as well. In terms of your fluid intake.
Sometimes we’re just feeling a bit thirsty and we might just feel that emptiness in the stomach and decide that we’re going to eat instead. And it’s always a good idea. If you’re feeling hungry, drink a glass of water before your meal and see what that does for you. You might get a little bit more of a sensation of fullness, and then you’re less likely to eat.
It’s actually been shown in research that if you do drink a glass of water, about half an hour before a meal, then you’re likely to reduce the amount of calories that you eat during that meal.
So it’s a helpful habit to have anyway.
You can drink these liquids quite freely throughout the day.
Keep in mind that coffee and tea contain caffeine, which has both benefits and drawbacks.
If you’re trying to lose weight, a safe amount of caffeine is considered about 400 milligrams. So about four cups of coffee and that’s considered relatively safe and healthy for most people, unless you’re sensitive to caffeine.
Part of the benefit of caffeine is it can reduce your appetite slightly.
So if you’re drinking coffee throughout the day, you might find that you’re not as hungry. You might reduce your snacking that way.
Ideally, you want to keep your caffeine intake early on in the day so that it doesn’t interfere with your sleep maybe before three, even better before noon, but everybody’s different. It depends what time you go to sleep. Try to have your last dose of caffeine several hours before you’re planning to go to bed.
Set An Eating Routine To Avoid Snacking
My next tip is set a routine. So that means that you don’t just snack at any point, you want to set up breakfast time, a lunchtime, a dinner time. And if you want to have a plan snack, that’s totally fine. But give yourself a time and then also plan what you’re going to have during that time.
And then give yourself a cutoff in the evening. Say I’m not going to eat beyond 7:00 PM or 8:00 PM. And just try to kind of lock that in. You can call it your 7:00 PM diet or an 8:00 PM diet, whatever it is.
How Intermittent Fasting Can Reduce Nighttime Snacking
In fact, a lot of people, when they do intermittent fasting, they get a lot of benefit from it because they really restrict themselves to a shorter timeframe.
It happens in the evenings, when they normally might be snacking.
They say, “Nope, I’m doing intermittent fasting. So I’m kind of the end of the day in terms of eating has finished now, and I can’t have anything to eat.”
So that helps people reduce calories in that way. You don’t have to go through the whole process of intermittent fasting to get those benefits. All you have to do is just set yourself a final time that you’re going to be eating in the day and try to stick to that schedule. If you’re running around all day and just kind of grabbing whatever you can, then you’re not going to be as cognizant of your calorie intake throughout the day.
And you’re probably going to add extra calories in the form of snacks that you didn’t account for.
Make Snacking Difficult
The next thing you want to do in order to avoid snacking is make snacking difficult. If you get tired or bored, and then you see something close by. It’s quick and easy. And already prepared. Then you’re more likely to have it.
The first thing you want to do is limit the amount of snacks that you have in house in the first place.
If you’re living on your own, that’s a little bit easier, but if you’re sharing your space, if you have a family or a partner or something like that, so you have to account for what they want to have in the house as well. It gets a little bit trickier, but research has shown that if you put food out of sight and a little further out of mind, then you’re less likely to eat that food.
So try to put your snacks somewhere where it’s a little bit more challenging to reach up on a high shelf, or you might have to get a chair or a stool to get it, or like right at the back.
What We Do At Home To Reduce Snacking
I’m actually going to tell you what we do here at home. I don’t have issues with snacking or overeating anymore, but my husband is a big fan of chocolate. He does have a tendency, if the chocolate is around within his reach, he’s going to keep eating and eating until it’s done.
I also used to do that, but I’ve been able to get out of that finally.
So he’s asked me to hide the chocolate somewhere where he can’t find it, where he doesn’t know where it is. And of course I have my special hiding places. Then he only has chocolate when he specifically requests it for me.
He’ll say, “Bring out the chocolate. We’re going to have this tonight. ”
So he can control his chocolate intake a little more because he knows that it’s challenging for him to have that chocolate always there, every time he reaches up on that shelf to grab like a can of tuna or something, he’s going to see that chocolate there as well. And that wouldn’t be ideal. So he’s going to be of that chocolate.
And as soon as it comes to the evening time, he’s going to eat all that chocolate. So I keep it hidden for him. And when he wants it, I bring it out.
So you might want to negotiate some sort of arrangement with your partner, unless of course you’re both the type where you’re going for snacks all the time. In which case you might want to just try to keep those snacks out of the house all together.
Portion Your Snacks
It’s also a good idea to portion your snacks. So eating out of a bag or out of a box is a really great way to over-consume calories. You’re going to be mindlessly munching your way through that bag. And you won’t even notice that you’re consuming perhaps 500 or if it’s something larger, a thousand calories. And you haven’t really seen that food. You’ve just shovelled it down.
So portion out your snacks in appropriate sizes.
You can keep it in a little baggies if you want, if you know that that’s a certain amount of calories, they often do sell portion control chocolates and that type of thing as well. So you might want to think about something like that. Where it’s a small portion size, and you know that once you’re finished that small portion you’re done.
Brush Your Teeth
Another tip is brush your teeth.
And this particularly applies to evening eating. A lot of people do that nighttime snacking thing. So if you brush your teeth after a meal with something minty, ideally that’s going to really interfere with the taste of your snack that you want. Then you’re less likely to want to eat that food afterwards.
Much like setting a routine or an eating schedule, brushing your teeth after your final meal, kind of gives you that stop to eating for the day. And things don’t taste as good after you’re fresh your teeth with minty toothpaste.
Have A Substitution For Snacking
And my final tip is have a substitution for snacking.
Now this is really hard to do. And I understand that when you feel a craving, you really want to eat a particular thing. It’s not always easy to distract yourself.
But it’s good to form a new habit instead.
So maybe it’s a grabbing a book or a magazine and sitting down with that. At least you’re busy with your hands. You can also pull out your phone and watch some YouTube videos.
I’ve got plenty here to inspire and motivate you! So whenever you feel like snacking, if you watch a video about doing something like this, then perhaps that will help as well. Or maybe even watch an exercise video.
But that doesn’t have to be your particular substitution for snack. And you might find something else that’s useful. Maybe you want to call a friend or send a text or something that kind of gets you away from that.
And just distract you from the situation.
An Interesting Substitution…
I once had a client who really struggled with snacking.
So every time he wanted to eat, he would do 10 pushups and then drink a glass of water. He’s kind of done a combination of things, but he had a substitution.
Every time he was hungry, he wanted a snack. He would do those 10 pushups, drink a glass of water. All of a sudden, he wasn’t thinking so much about snacking anymore. By doing the pushups. He also reminded himself of his goals that he wanted to be fit and in shape. And that’s what he said was the most useful thing for him.
That won’t necessarily work for everybody. If you’re someone who’s constantly craving snacks, you could do a hundred pushups a day and then maybe you’re still craving something at the end, but that’s a possible substitution that might work for you.
And you have to consistently use the substitution. If you always have dinner, brush your teeth and then a couple of hours later, you’re starting to feel a craving for a snack. Even though you’ve kind of set that limit.
Maybe you can have that habit of watching one of my YouTube videos. And you can do that every time you have a craving for a snack.
So I’d love to hear from you, which of these tips was most helpful.