7 Tricks to Avoid Snacking and Lose Weight

02/22/2013

 

Thinkstock
Thinkstock
It doesn’t matter how well you eat, if you eat too many calories it’s difficult to lose weight. Snacking, unless well planned, can easily become grazing, a recipe for weight gain.

And while the most committed health nuts swear by five meals a day, for me, snacking is a constant culprit. It’s much easier for me to eat mindfully three times a day, rather than five times.

Snacking is the worst early in the day because those that start snacking early on continue to snack throughout the day.

Meal times are important because the body needs at least three hours between meals for digestion. Ideal meal times are breakfast from 7-8 am, lunch from 12-1 pm, and dinner 6-7 pm. This way you’ll have enough time between meals for digestion and more importantly, you’ll have enough time for your dinner to digest before bed. The liver does the majority of its work while you’re asleep each night.

Tips for avoiding snacking:

1. Avoid Sweets for Breakfast

Eat a breakfast that's low in sugar if it has any at all. Good examples are rolled oats with peanut butter, coconut milk, nuts, and dried fruit. Try my personal favorite, a piece of sprouted grain bread with 1/2 an avocado, olive oil, and sea salt. If you eat a doughnut, you can expect a crash around 10:30 am and then you’ll be snacking all day long.

2. Don’t Get Amped on Caffeine

Coffee dissolves hunger at first, but once you come crashing down, you can’t stop eating. Additionally, you’ll reach for unhealthy foods. Try to stay even keeled all day so you don’t reach for snacks to give you another boost. 

3. Buy Unprocessed Snack Foods

If you have a bunch of snack foods lying around like chips, cookies, and candy, you’re sure to snack without even thinking about it. Instead, buy unprocessed snacks that aren't so addictive. Good choices include popcorn kernels (not microwave popcorn), fruits, and nuts. 

4. Workout During Snack Hour

I usually crave a snack between 4 and 5 pm so I make sure to be out of the house either working out or taking a yoga class. If you’re busy during snack hours, you’re less likely to eat when you’re not even hungry.

Jupiterimages
Jupiterimages
5. Vow to Eat at the Table

The key is to ensure that all meals are planned and done seated. If you eat in front of the television, you’re more likely to snack mindlessly, without even realizing how many calories you’re taking in. 

6. Don’t Deprive Yourself 

I eat a healthy diet, but I don't stress when I crave something unhealthy. Try and eat healthy 90 percent of the time, but allow at a few meals a week that aren't necessarily healthy. This way you won't go an snacking binge. 

7. Brush Your Teeth After Dinner

Brush you teeth at night so you can avoid evening snacking before bed time. There’s nothing worse than the way food tastes after you brush your teeth so eat dinner and immediately brush your teeth afterward. 

 

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Sara Novak writes about health and wellness for Discovery Health. Her work is also regularly featured in Breathe Magazine and on SereneKitchen.com. She has written extensively on food policy, food politics, and food safety.


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