How to Stop Mindless Snacking
Updated: Jul 8, 2020
We have ALL been there. Suddenly the entire bag of chips or pack of cookies is gone and you have no idea how you ate so many. Mindless snacking and eating can have a lot of negative effects on health and weight if it becomes a habit. For years, I struggled with emotional eating and overeating at night on all the snacks and here is what actually helped me stop it for good.
Let's start here. Snacking is not bad. Eating is not bad. Indulging in decadent food is not bad. Consuming food without fully being present, enjoying, and acknowledging it is the problem. If you are going to eat a delicious chocolate chip cookie, wouldn't you rather enjoy every single slightly melted chocolate chip and warm chewy cookie versus just shoving it in your mouth? I truly believe if you took more time to be present with your food, you would not eat as much because you actually savored what you put in your mouth. Sometimes you are so busy doing other things while you eat, you forgot what you ate so you eat more. I have seen this happen with dozens of my clients and here is what helped them the most:
1. Turn off the technology
Not only is it rude to use your phone at the table, it is also causing you to eat more. Put the phone down, shut off the TV, stop typing that email, and look at what you are eating. Smell it, taste it, be grateful for it.
2. Sit at the table
If you are eating in bed or on the couch while watching TV, it can lead to overeating. You are super comfy, binging Netflix, and just keep reaching down for that next bite. Go sit at the table or counter, put your food on a plate, and eat it there. It is a little trick for your mind and leads to less crumbs in between the cushions.
3. Prepare your own meals
This is not a set in stone rule cause who doesn't love a nice meal out, but when you take the time to cook your own food you appreciate it that much more. This also helps you take pride in what you put into your body. For recipe inspiration, check out my Pinterest board for my clients here.
4. Stop eating out of the box
Pour those chips, cookies, candies, etc into a bowl and close up the bag or box. his way even if you start to mindlessly eat you are only have a few instead of the entire bag. I also love doing this because now I don't fill up on one snack and can enjoy others!
5. Create a Snack Box
My clients LOVE this tip because it is so easy for the whole family. At the beginning of the day, get out a cute container or tray and fill it with snacks. I usually do 80% healthy, 20% treats. You can eat these snacks whenever you want throughout the day and when the box runs out, you are done! It is that simply. This trick helps you make smarter choices, portion control, and plan out your snacks.
6. Prep healthy snacks
Cut up those cucumbers, wash the grapes, buy some yogurt cups, and bag up the trail mix! Having all your snacks ready to go and pre-portioned makes life so much easier when you are hungry and don't know what to eat. I love using these containers and bags for all my snacks.
7. Rearrange your refrigerator and pantry
Out of sight, out of mind is my favorite mantra from the nutrition program 2B Mindset and is a great tip to stop mindless snacking. Put the healthier options like the ones mentioned in the last tip right at eye level. If you see it, you are likely to eat it! The more indulgent treats can go in the back or bottom of the shelf so you have to really want it to go grab it. This also works great for your kitchen counters. Put a bowl of fresh fruit or mixed nuts out so they are easy to grab.
8. Eat high protein, high fiber snacks.
The better the quality of your snacks, the more they will fill you up! Protein and fiber help keep you satiated longer. Think of foods like veggies, deli meats, fruits, yogurt, protein shake, or my favorite snack bars!
9. Track what you eat
Don't worry you don't have to weigh your wavy potato chips! Simply write it down. I am not one to count calories or macros, measure my food, or weigh every crumb. I just write down what I ate and when so I am more mindful when I do eat and can go back to look at what I had if my mood, energy, hungry, digestion, or anything health related changes. Try it for yourself, open up your notes app, grab a pen and paper, or use this tracker. It only takes 5 minutes, but I swear it is my secret to staying healthy and in tune with my body.
10. Drink some water
I know, everyone says it but do you do it? Our body can confuse hunger and thirst very easily and more water never hurt anyone. Go grab a cute water bottle, this is the one I use daily, and start chugging half your body weight in ounces. I also drink 8oz of water before every meal to make sure I get enough H2O every day!
I hope you found all these tips helpful and remember food is not the enemy and it is okay to over eat or indulge sometimes! Being mindful when you eat doesn't mean only eating kale and chicken. It means fully enjoying EVERYTHANG from the healthy stirfry to the Ben & Jerrys. If you do struggle with emotional or mindless eating, I highly recommend 2B Mindset. This self study nutrition course saved my relationship with food and my body as well as taught me a lot of these tips! I always encourage my clients to try it because I know it works (or your money back)!
If you have any questions or need a little accountability in this area, the Vitality Virtual Fit Studio is here for you! Enrollment is open and we dive deep into topics like this weekly.
Reminder you are good enough, food is your friend, and you were made for a beautiful life!