There is nothing wrong with snacking. In fact, snacking is great! It helps to keep your temper in check (especially for those notoriously hangry people out there), it can keep your blood sugar stable, it provides an energy boost during your mid-day slump, and can keep you full between meals to prevent cravings for overly fatty and sugary foods.
Snacking only becomes an unhealthy habit when done mindlessly, which can lead to weight gain. Struggling to keep snacking in check right now? Here are 8 ways to stop mindless snacking and lose weight in the process.
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8 ways to stop mindless snacking (and lose weight in the process)
In other words, schedule your snacking and plan your snacks. Decide what you'll snack on and pack those snacks in the morning, like your parent used to do for you before school or if you're a parent, you probably do this now already for your kids.
If you have a ziplock of berries set aside for 10:00 am, and cucumbers and hummus for 3:00 pm, all of your snacking decisions for the day have already been made.
If a schedule feels too rigid, you can also put out a snack basket and fill it with healthy snacks for the day that you can reach for whenever you feel hunger truly strike.
Planning snacks ahead means you won't be making decisions in a state of hunger, and are more likely to pick a healthier option.
(Wondering what to pack yourself? Here are 10 healthy plant-based quarantine snack ideas.)
That’s right! Choose food that really takes your attention to eat. Foods with pits or foods you have to peel will help you to focus on snack time and will help prevent you from mindlessly snacking while you’re doing something else, like working from home, homeschooling your kids, or completing a project around the house.
Choose foods that help you slow down the pace of your snacking so you can better sense when you’re full. Some of our favorite “focus eating” snacks include:
- Pistachios (shells on)
- Steamed edamame in the shells
The feelings of hunger and thirst are sometimes confusing to distinguish between. Next time you think “I’m starving!” after a meal, try drinking 2 glasses of water and see if that does the trick.
You ever just find yourself in front of the refrigerator… and then again 15 minutes later, thinking “how did I get here?”
You’re not alone! Boredom and snacking tend to fall hand in hand. Try drinking tea to keep your body occupied. Making and drinking tea can fill this "boredom" void, without unnecessary calories — bonus: it'll help you to form a new calming ritual. And tea, specifically green tea and hibiscus tea, are high in antioxidants and have many health benefits (1), including weight loss (2). So drink up!
Speaking of boredom, instead of reaching for a snack that you don't actually want, try to occupy your time and your mind with a hobby.
Whether you’re expressive and bold, or more of a “draw in the lines” kind of person, there are plenty of new skills to learn and free resources to help you reach your goals.
When times are stressful, it’s easy to reach for a bag of comfort food. If you're trying to cut back on mindless snacking and lose weight, look to manage your stress. Here are 3 ways to reduce stress and boost emotional resilience.
Always need a snack when you watch your favorite shows? Chances are you're not actually able to mindfully enjoy your food if you're also watching TV. This can lead to overeating and fast.
Ditch your TV snacks and keep your hands busy with something else while you watch. Use your TV time as a way to get in a few squats or planks, even some light stretching. Like to keep your workout separate from your screen time? Try knitting or sewing, folding laundry, prepping dinner. If you're watching TV just to totally relax and don't feel like multitasking, refer back to #4 on this list — make some tea to enjoy with your favorite show.
If you find yourself in a situation where snacking "off schedule" is necessary or you really want more than you "packed" for the day, that’s okay! Honor your hunger cues! If your body is telling you to eat, go ahead and do so. If weight loss is the goal, aim for nutrient-dense snacks that isn’t very calorie-dense, like:
- Oil-free popped popcorn with nutritional yeast
- Sliced watermelon
- Sliced red pepper
- Cucumber slices tossed with apple cider vinegar and everything bagel spice mix
- Asian pears
- Roasted cauliflower
- Balsamic roasted brussel sprouts
- Frozen corn and peas (yeah, this is actually pretty good!)
- Frozen grapes (tastes like dessert)
- Make time for snacking by planning your snacks ahead of time
- Play with your food! Choose foods that help to slow the pace in which you eat, and take some attention
- Stay hydrated
- Drink tea to keep your mouth occupied
- Stay busy
- Manage stress
- Do something else while you watch TV
- Don’t be too hard on yourself (and enjoy your snacks!)
- Lose weight for good with the plant-based MamaSezz Weight Loss program here.
By Caroline DiNicola Fawley
Caroline is a plant-based chef, recipe designer, and whole food plant-based nutrition educator, with a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.