This is one of the most common questions we get asked:
How can I stop mindless snacking?
In our Coffee Chat this week, we talk all about snacking and we shared some healthy snack alternatives. Go check it out here.
We are going to dive a little deeper into the psychology of snacking. Mindless eating is very common. You start a bag of chips and cannot even remember (or enjoy tasting) finishing the bag.
Snacking is about intentionally eating. When bored, watching TV, talking on the phone, or driving in the car, we often resort to an “auto-pilot” type state of mind. We just do without thinking about it.
Confession TIME! I do this while I drive. I could eat an entire big chocolate bar without even thinking about it. The sad part of that is, I don’t get to savour it. You get none of the benefits of tasting good or enjoy the food, but get all the calories and guilt that comes with it.
When we mindless eat, we often make bad decisions. I had gotten into such a habit of eating snacks while I was driving that it was more mindless than truly tuning in to my body’s hunger cues. This can happen when our brains associate food with the environment or time and we act out of instinct.
This is NOT easy and I will tell you from my own experiences. It is hard to curb mindless snacking (in the car, on the sofa or in bed) and it takes practice.
Here are 5 practical tips to share to help you move in the right decision.
- Have a GOOD snack! A combination of protein, healthy fats, and veggies is the perfect snack. Focusing on real, whole foods because most processed food (aka junk food) are loaded with additives that make it really hard to stop eating once you have started.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will help combat extreme snacking. It can also be helpful to have some additional drinking options like sparkling water or herbal teas.
- Brush your teeth. Have you ever eaten something after brushing your teeth and had that something taste so different? And sometimes when you have leftover flavours in your mouth you continue to crave them.
- Stop buying those snacks you cannot resist! You cannot eat what is not there. If you have snacks that you would rather not eat, hide them (I do this with my kids too….😊) Out of site or in hard to reach places. A freezer is also a good place. Frozen chocolate is a lot harder to eat than soft chocolate.
- Change things up. If you do notice that there are certain activities when you always end up mindlessly snacking (watching TV, putting away dinner leftovers, post-baking cookies), you may need to change this routine. With me, driving was a big one. I would place the groceries on the front seat and start munching. One easy solution that I’ve found is to put the bags in the trunk or back seat so I can’t get into them. I am less likely to snack once I get home.
Combat the underlying cause. We often find ourselves mindlessly snacking because of certain situations or emotions (boredom, loneliness, stress). Have you ever received an email and immediately went to the kitchen for a treat, just to procrastinate writing the response? Had a heated argument with your spouse and went to grab the ice cream? Notice when your emotions are fuelling your eating and try to find a different outlet for those emotions! This one is tough and I won’t deny that it requires a ton of practice, but figuring out how to deal with emotions without using food is huge when it comes to mindless snacking.
We can do this together.
To Your Success,