7 Tiny Changes to Stop Constant Snacking
Snacks can help us get to the next meal, but constant snacking can lead to overeating. A few simple changes can make a world of difference!
Shutterstock / Ekaterina Markelova
Do you ever need a morning snack shortly after you’ve cleaned up from breakfast? Do you want to reach into the snack bowl all afternoon? Healthy snacks (here are some options) can help us bridge the gap between meals, but a lot of us make less-than-healthy choices. And when you’re constantly snacking, there’s a good chance you’re taking in extra calories—perhaps without much nutritional benefit.
Here are seven clever ideas to help you stop snacking!
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Add protein to your meals
Protein helps you feel full. If you’re satiated after lunch, you probably won’t need that bag of chips at 2 p.m. So, make sure your meals include a lean protein like meat, quinoa, lentils or beans. (And if you are reaching for a snack in between meals, be sure to add a protein source.)
Don’t miss our protein-packed salad recipes for lunch ideas!
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Up your healthy fat intake
Unsaturated fats can actually help lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease. Plus, research shows that, like protein, healthy fat can help us feel fuller longer–and prevent snack attacks. So, don’t shy away from foods that are full of healthy fats! Try options like salmon, avocados, olives and olive oil, almonds or walnuts.
Pull back on sugar and simple carbs
Sugar in all forms and simple carbohydrates (like white bread and pasta) don’t have the ability to satiate like fat, protein and fiber do. Sweets and simple carbs might give you a short burst of energy, but the rapid crash that follows can leave you craving more food.
Get more ZZZs
The hormones responsible for telling your brain you’re hungry are affected by sleep. When you don’t get enough sleep, ghrelin levels rise and leptin fall–and that can spell hunger and lead to too much snacking. No good! Aim for a blissful eight hours of sleep each night.
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Drink more water
The same part of your brain manages both hunger and thirst. It’s possible your body is mistaking mild dehydration for hunger. Next time you’re tempted to reach for a snack, reflect on whether you’ve been drinking enough water and pour a glass of H2O instead.
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Find a healthy stress reliever
Do you crave chocolate or potato chips when you’re feeling stressed? You’re not alone. Stress really can affect your cravings. To help keep stress hormones in check, find healthy ways to manage your stress, such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises or counseling.
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Talk to your doc
If you try these lifestyle changes and still find yourself constantly craving snacks between meals, you may want to chat with your doctor. Certain medical conditions can affect your body’s ability to process hunger, and it’s important to explore those possible explanations with a professional.