Log in to your account

Not a member yet?

Subscribe now

How to become a healthy snacker

22 practical tips to help put you in control of your snacking.

  1. 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.
  2. Before you reach for that snack, ask yourself, "Am I really hungry? Does my body really need this? How will I feel afterwards?"
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. When preparing dinner, chop the vegetables first and snack on these. Kids often also love pre-dinner carrot sticks to nibble on.
  8. Make a rule to eat only while sitting. This cuts out the eating while preparing dinner.
  9. Serve your snack on one plate so you can see how much you are eating. Snacking straight from a packet while standing is deadly.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. A large glass of juice has the same kilojoules as two pieces of fruit but the fruit is more filling and lasting.
  13. Choose snacks with strong, intense flavours; a small amount satisfies. Try chilli & garlic roasted peas or a couple of squares of quality, dark chocolate.
  14. Always eat breakfast and have regular meals through the day.
  15. 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.
  16. Eat an apple, pear or orange for afternoon tea. These winter fruits have a low GI that helps curb the 5 o'clock munchies.
  17. 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.
  18. Have a jug or bottle of water on the desk at work and in the car.
  19. 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.
  20. Change your routine. If snacking after dinner is your downfall, brush your teeth straight after you've eaten.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.

Date modified: April 3 2017
First published: May 2007

Shopping list saved to go to meal plans