Instead of asking ‘Which diet works best?’, you should be asking ‘How to stop snacking?’ instead.
Why? Because while starting a new weight loss diet can be motivating, more often than not, mindless snacking will come along to steal your thunder.
In this article, I’ll let you in on 20 tips on controlling your snacking temptations and finally being able to follow-through with your diet.
- 1 1. Make a diet plan (and stick to it)
- 2 2. If you don’t buy it, you can’t eat it
- 3 3. Make your snacks are out of arm’s reach
- 4 4. Use a smaller plate for your snacks
- 5 5. Eat a proper meal if you get hungry later
- 6 6. Make sure to avoid stockpiling food
- 7 7. Eat your snacks like they are individual meals
- 8 8. Forget about your hunger by distracting yourself
- 9 9. Deal with the cause of your snacking
- 10 10. Get more sleep
- 11 11. Avoid processed ‘health foods’
- 12 12. Stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water
- 13 13. Always eat proper meals
- 14 14. Brush your teeth after you eat
- 15 15. Schedule your meals equally throughout the day
- 16 16. Don’t go cold turkey
- 17 17. Keep track of your calories
- 18 18. Are you really hungry or simply bored?
- 19 19. Change activities that cause you to snack mindlessly
- 20 20. Swap your sugary treats with some fruit
- 21 Final Word On How To Stop Snacking
1. Make a diet plan (and stick to it)
We always plan to follow the diet to the T, but the commitment ends up getting lost along the way.
One way to avoid this is by making a diet plan on what (and when) you are going to eat.
You can also plan your snacks into your diet so that you don’t go overboard. However, don’t lose control over yourself when you eat those pre-planned snacks, either.
If you plan to succeed in any weight loss diet, you are going to need a solid diet plan.
2. If you don’t buy it, you can’t eat it
This one is really obvious and easy-to-follow too.
If you are struggling with snacking on chocolate or ice-cream, don’t buy it when you are grocery shopping.
When your favorite snack isn’t in the fridge or cupboard, you will be less tempted to find an alternative.
3. Make your snacks are out of arm’s reach
Snacks that are within arm’s reach can cause you to fall for their temptations.
So, the easiest way to avoid falling for this temptation is to stay far away from them.
It’s been found that keeping your snacks in a bag or box will make you less likely to get them. This is because opening the bag or box requires more conscious action.
What this will do is prevent you from accidentally eating the whole bag of crisps without realizing it.
I’ve also found snack lockboxes to be effective as well. You can buy this online and in stores like Walmart and Target.
4. Use a smaller plate for your snacks
While the big bag of crisps can be eaten in one sitting, we usually don’t need that much to satisfy or eating urge.
So, use the portion size effect by using a smaller plate for your snacks to control your eating habits.
5. Eat a proper meal if you get hungry later
Sometimes, even after you’ve had your lunch or dinner, you end up getting hungry.
To remedy this problem, you should eat some of the leftover meal instead of a snack.
This way, while you are still eating something, it’s not the unhealthy snacks you often crave.
6. Make sure to avoid stockpiling food
Have you ever found that the month-long supply of cookies has ended up being finished within the first two days?
Well, this has happened to me, and that’s why I no longer stockpile on snacks.
Simply buy what you need, when you need it. This will help you avoid this easy-to-fall-for mistake.
7. Eat your snacks like they are individual meals
What I mean is don’t just snack while you absentmindedly watch TV.
Instead, take your snack of choice, put it on a plate, sit at the table, and eat the snack. Also, remember to focus solely on eating the snack without your phone or work distracting you.
The goal here is to help you enjoy the snack while letting you be more intentional with your eating habits.
Instead of crisps or other unhealthy snacks, you should try picking snacks made from whole foods. This should include the right amounts of protein, fats, and carbs.
8. Forget about your hunger by distracting yourself
Snacking is often an urge that presents itself when you are bored.
So, get rid of your boredom by keeping yourself distracted. This can include doing any activity or task that can take your mind off food.
I prefer taking a shower, but you may find cleaning the house or reading a book as effective.
Some people also choose to distract themselves with Netflix and TV too. And with your smartphone, you have an unlimited number of distractions at the tip of your fingers.
9. Deal with the cause of your snacking
Emotions like stress, loneliness, and boredom can often be the cause of your snacking.
This also occurs in certain situations as well. I end up snacking when I am procrastinating on a project or work.
The only way to deal with this is to confront the cause of your snacking and deal with it.
Emotional eating is a serious problem, and if you can’t solve it yourself, don’t be afraid to get help.
10. Get more sleep
It’s been established that a lack of sleep can end up fostering lousy eating habits like snacking.
The reason for this is that a tired body is always trying to get more energy it needs to function.
So, if you slept on time and got enough rest, your snacking urges should also go down.
11. Avoid processed ‘health foods’
There are plenty of protein bars and healthy foods that you can find in the market. These claim to be not just healthy, but tasty as well.
However, looking at the labels of these products, they are often filled with sugar and additives without being low in calories.
Research has also found that people end up eating ‘low-fat’ alternatives 49% more than the normal versions (1).
12. Stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water
Drinking water and staying hydrated is a simple but important step in staying healthy and fit. It can also help you deal with snacking.
Why? Well, it’s because most of the time we are feeling hungry, we are just thirsty.
So, drinking some water and quenching your thirst can help you deal with the hunger pangs.
If you are still hungry 15 minutes after drinking water, you are probably actually hungry.
13. Always eat proper meals
This tip sounds like an obvious one, but it’s one that gets overlooked often.
When it’s time for your meal, make sure you are eating enough of it. This includes the necessary fats, carbs, proteins, and other macronutrients.
Simply put, if you are eating enough during your regular meals, you won’t feel the urge to snack after a few hours.
Also, keep in mind that you are going to need to eat more if you lead a more active lifestyle.
14. Brush your teeth after you eat
There are times when some flavors of your past meal are left in your mouth.
This flavor can cause you to crave the food without even realizing it. Most people take this as a sign of still being hungry.
Simply brush your teeth after your meal, and you won’t get any mystery urges for seconds any time soon.
15. Schedule your meals equally throughout the day
Bodybuilders and other athletes are known for their strict diet control and timings. They also eat frequently and stick to their scheduled meal times without missing any meals.
This is because the body is better able to maintain healthy blood sugar levels if it isn’t starved over several hours. In fact, the spikes and dips in blood sugar are a reason for the feeling of grabbing a snack.
It is suggested that eating 3-5 meals a day that are equally spaced throughout the day is a sound strategy for weight loss.
16. Don’t go cold turkey
If you have tried any weight loss diet ever, you know that going full throttle from the get-go is a recipe for disaster.
Forcefully stopping your snacking is probably not the answer to the age-old question of ‘How to stop snacking?’
Instead, plan your snacks in a way that you slowly reduce the number of times you snack to a minimum before stopping.
Also, reward yourself for a job well done once in a while. This also helps reduce the stress of controlling you’re eating urges while getting a positive boost for your mood.
You can also suppress your eating urges by taking weight loss pills. But this is only if you are looking for rapid weight loss.
17. Keep track of your calories
You should keep track of what you eat and the calories it contains, even if you are not looking for weight loss.
This is because it’s proven that keeping track of the calories eaten can help people eat less.
So, when you pick out that bag of crisps, check the calories at the back before you tear into it. This should be a good wakeup call for you when those calories are compared to the rest of your meals.
Keeping track of the calorie intake with the help of an app or using a pen and paper both work. Just pick a way to track the calories that work best for you.
18. Are you really hungry or simply bored?
Have you ever noticed that when you are bored, you tend to feel more hunger?
I have. I often find myself opening the fridge door to see if there’s anything to eat when I’m bored. This is even when I know that there’s nothing to eat in there.
Experts have conducted trials that proven being bored causes us to eat more fat and calories (2).
So, if you find yourself in the kitchen looking for something to eat, ask yourself – Am I really hungry or just bored?
If you bored, try to do something that will distract your mind from your hunger. In my case, I like taking a nice hot shower to distract myself and let my imagination flow while I’m in there.
19. Change activities that cause you to snack mindlessly
There are times when we are more likely to start snack mindlessly away. For me, this is when I’m watching my favorite TV show or movie.
So, the solution to this is to change these activities and get the snacks out of the picture.
I solve this problem by storing away any potential snacking items and grabbing a bottle of water instead. When my snacking urge pops up, I simply take a sip of water, and the urge is gone.
20. Swap your sugary treats with some fruit
There are times when your body will crave something sweet, which is a difficult craving to ignore.
However, eating sweets every time you have a craving is a shortcut to weight gain and a higher risk of Type-II diabetes.
So, if your body is craving something sweet, get yourself an apple or banana. Any fruit can work here.
Best of all, fruits are healthy, even when eaten as an in-between meal snack.
Final Word On How To Stop Snacking
This article only notes down some of the simple tips on how to stop snacking.
These are not revelations of any kind and can be observed by anyone.
My suggestion is to start slow with five of the tips you know you can follow. After a week or so, you can implement more of these until you can stop snacking altogether.