Almost a month into the new year and many of us are trying to stick to healthy routines. One of the toughest things for me personally is to cut out the unnecessary snacking. When that hungry feeling hits mid-morning, mid-day or at night, it is hard not to reach for something crunchy or sweet. Even though I know I shouldn’t, it is an inner battle I fight regularly. Don’t get me wrong, not all snacks are bad, but many of them have calories that can add up quickly. To prevent those extra calories from slowing you down towards your health goals, here are some tips to help prevent snacking.
Eat Enough Protein During Your Meals
One of the most important tips to prevent snacking is to make sure you are getting enough protein during your meals and planned snacks. Eating an adequate amount of protein will help keep you full, longer. During your main meals, try to get approximately 30% of your calories from protein. The remaining 70% of calories should be balanced between carbs and fat. Make sure your planned snacks have protein as well. I usually have greek yogurt and sometimes mix in fruit and granola. Other good snack options include cottage cheese, nuts, protein bar or shake.
Instead of reaching for that snack bar, reach for a glass of water. Most of the time we want to eat because we don’t feel 100% full. Drinking water can help you feel fuller with zero calories. You can also add some lemon to your water for flavor and added health benefits. Some studies have found lemon to aid digestion and weight loss. I use my Camelbak water bottle to help me keep track of my water intake. There are also fitness apps that can help you keep track for you. Keep in mind that you should be drinking about eight 8-oz glasses (about half a gallon) of water each day.
Take a Walk or Quick Exercises
Another reason we usually snack is because we are bored. We are more likely to focus on feeling hungry when we are sitting still and can’t take our mind off of it. Instead of walking for the pantry, take a walk around the block or do a couple of quick exercises (i.e. jumping jacks, crunches, etc.) to get your blood flowing and your mind on something else. During the weekdays, I try to take a short mid-morning and mid-afternoon walk for this reason. It also helps me chip away at my step goal when I am sitting for a good part of the day.
Pop a Mint or Gum
My final tip to help prevent snacking is to have some mints or gum on hand. Sometimes popping a mint or chewing gum is enough to take your mind off of wanting to snack. I keep Altoids with me at work and in my purse in case the feeling hits.
What are some of your tips to prevent snacking? Have you tried any of the tips above?