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.