Have you ever started your day determined to avoid unhealthy snacking, then found yourself munching on potato chips two hours later? Welcome to the club, girl! Snacking is a weakness for many of us ladies, but that doesn’t mean we have to keep giving in to our cravings.
With a little knowledge, a healthy dose of determination, and a lot of self-love, we can gain control over our own personal snacking villains and show them who’s the real hero of our story. Here are some things you should know if you want to learn how to stop snacking (or at least minimize snacking to when you truly need to refuel your body).
Mindless Snacking vs. Snacking to Refuel
There is a lot of controversy on snacking, but the truth is that not all snacking is bad. The key is to learn how to recognize if you’re engaging in mindless eating or if you’re snacking to refuel your body.
If you’re feeling genuinely hungry and tired, your body probably needs a snack to replenish its fuel stores. Just make sure you’re choosing a snack that gives your body the nutrients it needs instead of stuffing it full of empty calories and sugar.
Unlike snacking to fuel our bodies, mindless snacking is something we should all avoid. Mindless snacking happens when we’re distracted by other things. When we mindlessly snack, the intention to eat just a couple of cookies can quickly result in us eating most of the bag without even realizing it. Raise your hand if you’ve been there, done that! Mindless snacking is a habit we can all afford to throw out the window, especially if we’d like to experience some weight loss.
Targeting Why You’re Snacking
There are many reasons why humans tend to snack. We may do it because we’re sad, happy, stressed, relaxed, busy, or bored. In short, we can come up with any reason under the sun to stuff our faces with food. We might even raid the refrigerator all day long because we think we’re hungry, but we’re actually experiencing cravings that have nothing to do with genuine hunger.
The last year and a half gave us a unique reason to snack: COVID-19. While we were stuck inside feeling stressed and anxious about a worldwide pandemic, many of us turned to food for comfort. In fact, pandemic snacking became so pervasive that some of us ended up gaining what we’ve come to term “the COVID 19” (pounds, that is). Unfortunately, constantly eating unhealthy snacks inevitably results in weight gain over time.
If you’re serious about eating to fuel your body and eliminate unnecessary and mindless snacking, it may be helpful to make a food diary and document when and why you snack. Is it because you’re not getting enough sleep or because you’re in the middle of a tragic break-up? Could it be because you’re stressed out about a big event that’s coming up or you’re worried about a loved one? Or maybe you find yourself snacking when you have nothing else to do and you’re bored out of your mind.
As you write down your snacking habits and how you’re feeling, you’ll probably notice some patterns. Recognizing these patterns can be very helpful for managing your desires to snack in the future.
Why You Should Stop Snacking
Snacking is frequently not based on hunger and is often triggered by a craving or emotional state. In addition to potentially ruining your dinner and making you less hungry for nutritious meals, snacking can also do the following:
- Increase inflammation in the body
- Cause weight gain (don’t we all know it!)
- Raise blood sugar levels
- Elevate your insulin and cholesterol levels
Nighttime snacking, in particular, is a big culprit behind elevated insulin and cholesterol levels. So you may want to rethink your nightly habit of indulging in a bowl of ice cream (or two) right before bed.
Tips for How to Stop Snacking
We all know that junk food and unhealthy eating habits aren’t good for us, but many of us still struggle to make mindful eating a priority. However, once we learn effective ways to stop snacking, we discover that we’re a lot stronger than we realized!
Here are some of our favorite tips to stop snacking and reap the benefits of healthy habits.
- Drink more! No, not that kind of drinking (sorry). In the battle against snacking, water should be one of your primary defensive weapons. Whether you’re trying to cut back on emotional eating, boredom eating, or late night snacking, drinking water can help you achieve your goals. Sometimes the human body mistakes thirst cues for hunger cues, so drinking a glass or two of water before giving in to a craving can help you avoid snacking and overeating. Drinking herbal tea can do the same thing in a more flavorful way.
- Eat more satisfying meals. Eating satisfying meals is one of the best ways to reduce the urge to snack. Dinner (or any other meal, for that matter) is typically more satisfying when it contains fiber, protein, and healthy fat. If you’re consistently eating balanced meals, they’ll sustain you longer, so you feel less of an urge to munch on snack foods throughout the day.
- Swap unhealthy snacks for healthier options. Can’t get rid of the urge to snack? Your body may be telling you it needs more fuel. But instead of reaching for an unhealthy food full of sugar and processed carbs, select a healthier option such as an apple or string cheese. You’ll minimize the extra calories you take in if you opt for nutritious snacks, and you’ll stay satisfied longer.
- Hide tempting foods. If you’re trying not to snack, but you keep your pastries and sugar-filled treats on the countertop, you’re making things a lot harder for yourself, girl! Hide that stuff in a cupboard or pantry. Better yet, stop buying foods you know aren’t good for your body. You don’t have room in your life for sugary snacks that will bring you down, so break up with them and get a new boyfriend. I hear Kale is available. Or if he’s too “granola” for you, go for Sweet Potato or Spinach-and-Banana Smoothie (or both! We aren’t judging!) Really though, there are so many great-tasting healthy foods that there’s no reason to compromise your health by indulging in junk food.
- Be kind to yourself. No one is perfect, so why do you expect yourself to be? If you make a goal to adopt healthy snacking habits but you mess up every once in a while, dust yourself off and try again (now you’ve got Aaliyah singing in your head, don’t you?) Don’t let one slip-up knock you off course for the rest of the day, week, or even longer. Get back up and keep trying to take control of your food intake habits.
- Take a craving-curving supplement. Some people tend to get hungry more often than others. If you have a voracious appetite, an appetite-suppressing supplement such as Hercrave may be the hero you’re looking for. It helps you gain control over your cravings by causing you to feel satiated longer. Just add it to a glass of water or other beverage and drink it between meals to help tide you over.
Get the Upper Hand on Your Cravings
In addition to Hercrave, Mixhers also has other natural products that may help reduce your urges to snack. Since some food cravings stem from unbalanced hormones, regularly consuming a hormone-balancing supplement such as Hertime Daily may help. Or if you feel like lack of sleep leads to an insatiable appetite, Hernightly can help you get the rest your body requires to manage its hunger signals during the day. These all-natural products are specially formulated to meet the complex needs of the female body and can help you gain the upper hand over your cravings.