Let me know if this scenario sounds familiar…
You get up early and get in a great workout. You fuel up with an awesome breakfast, and follow that up with a healthy lunch, snack, and dinner. It was a busy day, and you are feeling pretty good about your workout and healthy food choices as the day is winding down. You finally have a chance to relax, and sit down in front of the television. As you are watching, your spouse offers you some of the almonds he is eating…you figure almonds are healthy, so you take the bag and dig in. The show gets really good, and the almonds are so crunchy and yummy. Before you know it, you finished off the bag of almonds…and took a few large handfuls of the dark chocolate chips your spouse had also offered you, and you weren’t even hungry…sound familiar? Don’t worry, you are not alone.
Mindless snacking is one of the many pot holes to look out for when trying to live a healthy lifestyle. Although a small handful of almonds or dark chocolate chips isn’t a bad evening snack option…several large handfuls of each is sure to derail your weight loss efforts and are no longer considered a healthy snacks. Since mindless snacking can be so destructive, I have come up with a few tips to help you (and me) avoid it, hopefully one or more of them will be helpful for you…
- Know your trigger. Do you snack while sitting in front of the television or while sitting at your desk? My trigger is getting home late at night. If I get home after 10pm, I tend to want to come home and eat/snack.
- Have a healthy treat (that will meet your cravings) prepared to eat during your trigger times. If you need something crunchy while watching a show, make batch of Homemade Baked Tortilla Chips to enjoy with your favorite salsa. It is important to have something prepared that will meet your snacking “needs.” If you know you crave something crunchy, a juicy peach may not satisfy your snacking urge. I tend to want to snack on carbs when I get home late, so I will toast an Ezekiel English muffin and top with almond butter to satisfy my late night carb craving.
- Portion out your snacks. If you are watching a movie, and your spouse offers you some almonds. Grab a small handful, put them in a small bowl or bag and only eat that portion. Don’t sit with the bag in front of you, to mindlessly grab endless handfuls.
- Drink lots of water when your snacking urge hits. Drinking water while snacking will help you keep your portions in check. I also like to drink herbal tea with my late night snacks. It helps me feel fuller, and taste delicious.
- Make sure you are not super hungry. If you sit down to watch a show without eating dinner first, you will eat way more than you want too, simply because you are hungry. Make sure you fuel up with healthy meals.
- Include fresh fruits and veggies with your snacks. If you know a small handful of almonds is not going to do the trick, include some apples slices to eat with your almonds.
- Include your spouse in your plan to cut out mindless snacking. If you are making up a portioned snack to eat while watching a show, make up a portion for your spouse as well. Then they won’t be sitting there with a bag of dark chocolate chips, that they mindlessly offer to you, and you mindlessly accept :).
- Enjoy your food. Be present while you are eating. It will taste better and be more satisfying if you are present while eating it.
- Finally, don’t beat yourself up if one night, you do end up polishing off the bag of dark chocolate chips. You are human after all, and it happens to all of us. It’s not worth stressing about, just recognize it as a slip up, and get right back to healthy eating habits.
What are your mindless snacking triggers?
What do you do to avoid mindless snacking?