22 practical tips to help put you in control of your snacking.
- Allow yourself a bit of everything. If you 'ban' chocolate, you are likely to obsess until you pig out. It's called the DIG cycle – deprivation, indulgence, guilt – don't get caught on it.
- Before you reach for that snack, ask yourself, "Am I really hungry? Does my body really need this? How will I feel afterwards?"
- If you snack at certain times out of habit, change the situation so you are less tempted. Try walking instead of eating. Find a place to study that forbids food – perhaps a library.
- Think about non-food ways to make yourself feel better when upset, stressed or bored. Exercise, laughter and shopping (even window shopping) can all help.
- Before you automatically order or grab a muffin with your coffee, think about whether you really need it. Savour the flavour of your favourite drink on its own.
- Pour yourself a glass of soda water with a dash of lemon or lime juice. It takes the edge off your nibbling urge, with virtually no kilojoules.
- When preparing dinner, chop the vegetables first and snack on these. Kids often also love pre-dinner carrot sticks to nibble on.
- Make a rule to eat only while sitting. This cuts out the eating while preparing dinner.
- Serve your snack on one plate so you can see how much you are eating. Snacking straight from a packet while standing is deadly.
- Plan ahead. Stock the kitchen, car and work desk with only healthy snacks. It helps avoid impulse binges – if it's not in the house, you can't snack on it.
- Make kilojoules count. When choosing a snack, look at the kilojoules & nutrients. High-fibre, low-GI or protein foods fill you up so you're less likely to binge.
- A large glass of juice has the same kilojoules as two pieces of fruit but the fruit is more filling and lasting.
- Choose snacks with strong, intense flavours; a small amount satisfies. Try chilli & garlic roasted peas or a couple of squares of quality, dark chocolate.
- Always eat breakfast and have regular meals through the day.
- Don't just have a salad sandwich for lunch – add in some lean meat, fish or chicken. Protein helps you last through the afternoon better.
- Eat an apple, pear or orange for afternoon tea. These winter fruits have a low GI that helps curb the 5 o'clock munchies.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day. We often think we are hungry when it is actually thirst. Drink even when you are not thirsty.
- Have a jug or bottle of water on the desk at work and in the car.
- Never shop at the supermarket when hungry. It's almost impossible to resist impulses on an empty stomach & you'll be tempted to snack on the way home.
- Change your routine. If snacking after dinner is your downfall, brush your teeth straight after you've eaten.
- Try chewing sugar-free gum between meals or while you're preparing dinner. You'll be less likely to want to put anything else in your mouth.
- Make sure each meal has lean meat, fish, chicken, eggs or legumes for lasting power & some fibre from fruit, veges or whole grains to fill you up.