10 Tips for Healthy Snacking

by Anjali @ The Picky Eater on June 17, 2012

 

We’ve all been there.

It’s 4pm, or late at night, and the munchies hits you out of nowhere. Suddenly, you can’t think about anything but your afternoon or late night craving.

Those donuts in the break room become irresistible, or chocolate seems like the only food group in existence. Or maybe you’re a salty snacker, in which case anything in the form of a chip is magical.

Now, we all know that there are tons of healthy snack options for us out there – I’ve even posted about it in the past. But what do you do when you just really don’t want a healthy snack? How do you satisfy your cravings and make it a habit to reach for the “good stuff” instead of the “bad stuff”?

Here is The Picky Eater’s Top 10 Tips for Healthy Snacking – so you don’t have to fight the munchies and you can feel good about the snacks you’re eating!

Picky Eater Tip #1: Distract yourself. Sometimes when we feel like snacking, we’re just bored or restless. So when you feel the munchies coming on, take a bathroom break, pick up the phone and call a friend, or start talking to a coworker. If you really aren’t hungry and were just bored – this will take care of the need to snack!

Picky Eater Tip #2: Take a short walk. A short, 15 minute walk can help you nix a junk food craving, and by the time you get back from your walk you’ll feel refreshed and maybe more inclined to want a healthy snack!

Picky Eater Tip #3: Keep healthy snacks near you. Laziness can be quite a powerful tool when it comes to avoiding unhealthy food. If the cookies (or other unhealthy snacks) aren’t at your desk, but an apple is – you’re more likely to reach for the apple than to go looking for the cookies. Extend this principle to your home – avoid keeping junk food in your house – and don’t go to the grocery store when you’re hungry! You’ll be much less likely to make bad choices if you aren’t hungry when you’re shopping for food. This is a great list of more healthy snack foods to incorporate into your diet.

Picky Eater Tip #4: Plan what you eat. This doesn’t necessarily mean mapping out every single morsel of food, but more like giving yourself a roadmap for what general meals and snacks you’re going to eat that day. To help you get started, try The Picky Eater’s 7 day plan for clean eating – it’s the perfect plan for guiding you towards picking healthy snacks and healthy meals!

Picky Eater Tip #5: Don’t wait too long between meals. Going long stretches between meals will cause your blood sugar to drop, which is the prime culprit for cravings and can cause you to just grab whatever’s in front of you to satisfy your hunger. Planning healthy meals and healthy snacks throughout the day will help you avoid that mid-afternoon crash.

Picky Eater Tip #6: Chew sugarless gum (or have a mint). Chewing gum will make you feel like you’re snacking when you really aren’t, and the mint taste will leave your mouth feeling refreshed and you’ll be less likely to want to eat right after (think about it – right after you brush your teeth, do you feel like eating?)

Picky Eater Tip #7: Eat slower, eat mindfully. The last thing you want to do is graze while you’re doing 5 other things – you’ll have inhaled that whole bag of cookies before you know it! When you’re snacking or eating meals, eat mindfully. Be aware of what you’re eating and how much you’re eating, and make meal and snack time a standalone activity. You’re much likely to eat less and make better choices if you’re aware, present, and thinking about your food as you’re eating it.

Picky Eater Tip #8: Drink water or tea. A lot of times, people mistake hunger for thirst. A rule of thumb should be – when you feel the need to snack, drink a glass of water instead. If you’re still hungry 15 minutes later, try to reach for a healthy snack!

Picky Eater Tip #9: Don’t let your mind play tricks on you. Figure out what your triggers are for indulging, and try to be aware of them when they happen. For example, if you always eat when you’re bored or annoyed, you can be more aware of those emotions and try to make better choices when you feel that way.

Picky Eater Tip #10: Allow yourself to indulge once in a while. Cutting out junk food altogether is not the answer. Everything in moderation is really the mantra for a healthy, happy life. Also – if you let yourself indulge in small portions occasionally, then you won’t feel totally deprived of junk food and will be less likely to binge on it later.

 

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristi Rimkus July 25, 2010 at 8:11 am

Great tips for keeping away from the junk food. I’m a big salt and carb fan. Love chips, etc. and usually justify eating them because I buy them baked. Doesn’t matter when I’ve polished off the bag in two days. 🙂

My goal is to pass by those temptations in the grocery and not buy them in the first place.

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater July 26, 2010 at 12:15 pm

That is a great goal Kristi! One thing you might want to try is buying or making baked chips, and then portioning them off yourself into mini ziploc bags (100 calories per bag) – so that way when you do have a chip craving, you only end up eating one of the small bags of baked chips. If you pair that with a bag of mini carrot sticks, you’ve got yourself a pretty healthy snack!

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Torviewtoronto July 25, 2010 at 8:39 am

good advice

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater July 26, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Thanks – glad it’s helpful!

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Carol Egbert July 25, 2010 at 10:41 am

I find it easiest to avoid temptation at the grocery store. When food makes it into my cupboard or refrigerator it’s harder to resist

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater July 26, 2010 at 12:17 pm

That is very true Carol! I do the same thing, I only keep healthy snacks near me at work or in my cupboard/fridge at home. If you don’t have junk food around, you can’t eat it! 🙂

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Julie July 25, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Number 8 is my go to when I’m home and passing by the pantry a lot. Making a cup of tea requires me to choose a flavor and heat something up, not to mention it smells great. Often, it will do the trick!

Great post, I just found your blog & will be back often.

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater July 26, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Thanks so much Julie! It’s nice to meet you 🙂 Making a cup of tea is my go-to as well!

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Lauren @ Fun, Fit, and Fabulous! July 25, 2010 at 6:51 pm

Great advice! I especially love number 8. In the summer, I feel like people mistake thirst for hunger even more often than in the cooler months. Dehydration also makes people feel lethargic and they think they need a snack to raise their energy level!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater July 26, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Thanks Lauren! That’s so true – number 8 is especially useful in the summer – sometimes a nice cold glass of sparkling water with a splash of juice will do the trick!

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Snack Girl July 26, 2010 at 6:53 am

Great post! My favorite website for healthy snack ideas is http://www.snack-girl.com/

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater July 27, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Thanks so much!

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Amanda @RunToTheFinish June 18, 2012 at 9:12 am

fantastic tips! I think the slowing down and really enjoying something if you are going to have it is huge, so you don’t inhale a cookie and want another because you didn’t even enjoy that one.

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater June 18, 2012 at 10:09 am

Thanks! And yes – that is so true! What I’ve noticed is that when I really pay attention to what I’m eating and savor every bite of a sweet treat (like a cookie), that I’m less inclined to want another one, because I feel satisfied enough from the first cookie. It’s all about mindfulness and moderation! 🙂

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Val @ Tips on Healthy Living June 18, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Tip 7 is SO valuable — it’s so easy to be multi-tasking and doing a million things and try to snack at the same time and end up eating way more than I meant to. I find it too easy to lose touch with that satisfied feeling and plow past it to feeling full. I find it helps to not eat directly out of the bag/box and put a certain amount in a bowl instead.

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater June 19, 2012 at 7:15 am

Thanks Val! You made a great point – an easy way to slow down and be mindful is to treat your snack like a mini-meal – which means not eating straight out of the bag/box and portioning out a small amount in a bowl or on a plate instead! I can see why that helps you, because that way you can’t finish the entire bag/box of snacks if you don’t have it in front of you 🙂

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Val @ Tips on Healthy Living June 19, 2012 at 10:32 am

Exactly. These are all awesome tips, though. Great post!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater June 20, 2012 at 7:18 am

Aw thank you! So glad they’re helpful!

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Ayse July 7, 2012 at 6:17 pm

Anjali, I like your tips. I have just created a youtube video, with my two young daughters, on growing herbs on my balcony to use as ingredients in spring rolls. They taste so good and are so completely healthy. Thanks again. Ayse.

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater July 11, 2012 at 8:03 am

Thanks Ayse! I’m glad you find it helpful! Love that you grow your own herbs – that’s a great tip as well – it’s super easy to do and adds tons of flavor to dishes!

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Mark Anderson August 14, 2014 at 4:03 am

Thanks for the post. The tips are excellent for having healthy snacks and avoid having junk food. Thanks!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater August 15, 2014 at 9:35 am

No problem, so glad it’s helpful Mark!

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