Struggling to say no to unhealthy snacks? Nip the habit in the bud with our practical guide to quitting snacking
Words Joy Montgomery
SPOT YOUR TRIGGERS
The first step to cutting down on snacking is knowing what your triggers are. These can be both physical and psychological. The most common factors include low sugar levels, hormonal fluctuations, lack of sleep, anxiety and lack of nutrients, among others. Identifying your triggers will help you formulate the best and most targeted solution.
TAKE AWAY TEMPTATION
This may sound obvious, but one of the best ways to avoid snacking is to avoid picking up those sneaky snacks at the checkout. The more you buy crave-inducing snacks the more you’ll become reliant on them. Clear all junk food from your desk and be disciplined in the supermarket. If it’s not within arms reach then the chances are it won’t end up in your mouth! Finally, be patient with yourself. If you’re used to sweet snacks then it may take a while for your palette to adjust, but this will improve with time.
FIND HEALTHY SUBSTITUTES
You’ve taken away all the fun foodstuffs – sorry about that – so what now? It’s time to replace your old faithfuls with shiny new snacks. If you go cold turkey then you may be tempted to slip into old habits – those cravings won’t go away overnight! Have a google and find some fun ideas for healthy and tasty snacks. If you don’t enjoy them then you won’t eat them, simple. Be creative but keep it simple: we love apple slices with peanut butter or trail mixes of nuts, raisins and dark chocolate.
PROTEIN PACK YOUR LUNCH
Another easy way to stave of the cravings is to eat a protein-packed lunch. Protein will help you stay full for longer, and help you get through the 4pm slump without reaching for the biscuits. Try chicken, quinoa and roast veg or, for veggies, lentil soup with pumpkin seeds. Another technique that nutritionists swear by is eating multiple small meals throughout the day. This is ideal for avoiding blood sugar spikes – however we understand that this isn’t practical for most people!
DON’T SKIP THE WATER
Did you know that a lot of people confuse thirst for hunger? It’s easy to start grazing when in fact all your body needs is a drink. Make sure you have a big bottle of water on your desk at all times and sip at regular intervals. You can even download water drinking apps which send out alerts when you need to drink up.
GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Not getting enough sleep can have a dramatic impact on your snacking habits. When you feel knackered your body is much more likely to crave sugary food because it’s desperate for energy. But, as we all know, if you munch on a chocolate bar, you’ll be crashing within an hour. Also, when you don’t get enough shut eye your metabolism slows down, which triggers the release of cortisol, causing an increase in food cravings. Need we say more? Check out our sleep guide for top tips on clocking in those hours.
DISTRACT WITH CHEWING GUM
If all else fails, chewing gum is an easy way to improve your snacking habits. Not only can it freshen your breath, but chewing gum is also proven to control cravings and manage hunger. Try chewing gum between meals or whilst cooking to avoid mindless nibbling.