The situation is all too familiar: You pop open a bag of chips planning to have just a few and the next thing you know, you're licking the bottom of the bag crumbs off your fingers and wondering how the heck to stop snacking so much. Check out these 10 helpful tips to cut back on your snacking! Enjoy!
1. Buy single-serve packages
Since you can only eat what’s in front of you, it's time to beat yourself at your own game. On your next grocery haul, pick up smaller, individual-sized packs of your favorite snacks.
Smaller, portion-controlled packages make you less likely to eat endless amounts in one sitting.
Sure, you may still eyeball a second package of almonds after finishing one, but the extra step of having to open a new package gives your brain a chance to think, "is this really what I need right now?"
2. Use smaller plates and bowls
We tend to want to eat things with our eyes. So, if you fill a big, huge bowl with pretzels, you'll probably feel like you need to crush it to feel satisfied.
On the flip side, if you fill a smaller bowl with your pretzels, it sends a signal to your brain that it’s more food.
3. Find healthier ways to satisfy your cravings
If you love snacks like chips because of the salt or crunch, consider what better options might offer, with the same experience.
If you know you’re a crunchy fan, for example, try carrot sticks with peanut butter, celery with guac, or a handful of almonds. This way, if you go a little overboard, at least you’re eating nutritious foods.
It might take a little trial and error to see what truly feels satisfying, but taking that time to consider what you truly crave can be helpful.
4. Keep your favorite foods out of sight
If you have a snack you always snack on mindlessly, make it more difficult to get your hands on.
Put it in an out-of-the-way cabinet so it’s not in your line-of-sight all the time. Then, if you do seek it out, you have time to wonder, “Do I actually want to snack on this?’”
It sounds simple, but it works.
5. Make getting to unhealthy snacks inconvenient
Completely banishing your favorite not-so-healthy snacks can make you overdo it when you do have them.
As with healthy snacks you tend to overdo, keep less-nutritious snacks in harder-to-reach places (like high up on a shelf that requires a step ladder to reach).
The hope is that when you do have that snack, you’ll appreciate it more and savor it more mindfully.
There is an office candy bowl study that analyzed people's snacking habits when the candy was easy to access versus farther away. Unsurprisingly, people munched less when the bowls were farther away.
6. Snack slowly
You’ve heard this one before: Eating slower ultimately makes you eat less. The slower you eat, the more time your stomach has to notify your brain that you are full.
To slow down your snacking speed, try eating with your non-dominant hand or keeping your snack on the far end of the table so that grabbing more requires extra effort.
7. Reconsider what you buy in bulk
Loading up at Sam’s Club and BJ's feels sooo satisfying, but having a crapload of food at your disposal increases the odds you’ll snack on a lot of it at once.
If buying snacks in bulk contributes to your mindless snacking, consider cutting back.
8. Question whether you’re “actually hungry”
It might sound obvious, but ages of mindless snacking can disconnect you from your hunger cues.
Unfortunately, many people don’t recognize true hunger. Instead, plenty of people snack and keep on snacking, when they’re bored, anxious, or just because it’s snack o’clock.
Before you reach for something, pause and check in with yourself about why you're snacking in the first place. Check your hunger on a scale, with “1” being stuffed and “10” being so hungry that you think you might pass out.
Clock in at a seven or higher? Eat something. After a few bites, check in with yourself again to reevaluate where you fall.
9. Don't multitask while snacking
When you snack, put away your phone/computer/TV/book and just spend some solid time with your food. Concentrate on chewing and actually tasting it. It should help you feel more satisfied and aware of how much you’re actually eating.
10. Choose snacks that require a little effort
It's pretty simple: Snacks that require a little work to eat, like pistachios or fresh cherries, slow you down. This allows you to be more mindful of what you're eating.
Plus, having leftover shells or pits as visual cues reinforces that you have, in fact, chowed down on a decent amount of food.
Try these 10 helpful tips to limit the negative impact of your snacking!