Before anything else, let’s preface this by saying: snacks aren’t your worst enemy when it comes to your diet. In fact, snacking can be a great way to keep you satisfied throughout the day and prevent you from eating too much during your meals. The only real enemy to your weight loss progress is overeating, which can often be attributed to calorific meals and mindless snacking.
Mindless snacking is something many people are guilty of, and it’s not hard to see why. Our grocery aisles are filled with eye-catching and tempting labels that are just asking us to pick them up, put them in our cart, and finish them in one sitting when we get home. This kind of snacking is also comforting for anyone dealing with stress, anxiety, or even just boredom.
If you’re currently trying to shed some pounds or live a healthier lifestyle but find that snacking is getting in the way of any progress, here are some easy tips you can incorporate into your daily routine that could finally help break the habit.
Have smaller, more frequent meals
You may have heard that eating more meals throughout the day could help with weight loss, but that isn’t necessarily true. In fact, it’s been proven that meal frequency doesn’t lead to improved weight loss at all. While this routine may not have any difference in that regard, it could help you curb snacking instead.
Given that most people snack to satisfy a craving or simply out of boredom, grazing on smaller dishes throughout the day could actually help you beat the habit by simply replacing snacks with pre-portioned meals taken every other hour as opposed to three times a day.
Sip on low or no-calorie drinks throughout the day
When you start to crave snacks in the middle of the day, drink some water first then see how you feel. Often, people tend to confuse thirst for hunger and reach for something to eat before a drink. Water is one great way to help you feel fuller for longer, but it also understandably might not satisfy any cravings.
Flavored low and no-calorie drinks are a great alternative to snacks in between meals, as you might just be looking for some flavor and sweetness. Opt for sparkling water with lemon or other citrus fruits, tea, black coffee, etc. over traditional sodas and sugary drinks for healthy choices that can turn into your guilt-free, everyday pick-me-up.
Consider intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting has become a very popular means for weight loss and health maintenance with a ton of benefits that can also create a healthier relationship with food in the long run.
Given that you can only eat within a certain time period and are prevented from eating outside of that window, this can make you feel more accountable and in control of what you eat and when you eat it. Putting a strict schedule on your eating routine might help you be more mindful of your eating habits and put a stop to snacking.
However, it’s important to remember to slowly adjust to intermittent fasting if it’s something you’re not used to, as going on a longer fast and having a smaller eating period could lead to binge-eating.
Take natural appetite suppressants
If hunger or strong cravings throughout the day are a problem for you, appetite suppressants may be a solution. Natural remedies like green tea extract, yerba mate, coffee, and apple cider vinegar can make you feel satisfied and energized for longer and get rid of the desire to munch on something. You can either drink these or take them in supplement forms at the start of the day.
Find healthier alternatives to your favorites
If snacking is really something you can’t avoid or if you’re working your way slowly to cutting out snacks altogether, choose healthier options of your favorite snacks instead. Most people snack on items that are high in calories yet low in nutritional value, and so they become major contributors to weight gain and other health problems.
Opting for alternatives that are richer in certain nutrients can both be more filling and more beneficial for you. For example, if you’re a fan of milk chocolate bars, try switching them out for dark chocolate which is higher in antioxidants and provides even more benefits. Similarly, you can replace chips with crunchy vegetables paired with a nutritious dip like carrots and hummus.
While cutting out unhealthy habits from your life is a great service for your health, it’s also important to treat yourself every once in a while. Instead of snacking on these foods often, turn them into a reward for you to look forward to and enjoy in moderation.
By doing so, you’ll avoid the feeling of deprivation and the likely possibility that you’ll binge on them later on. You can still have these foods in your life while in the pursuit of living healthier, while at the same time making them much more enjoyable to eat.