The main reason most of us go over our daily calorie intake is because we snack. Even if we try to snack healthily, these extra calories once or twice a day can be the difference between staying on plan and going off track, so trying to stop the snacking habit is a good idea for successful weight loss!
So, how can you help yourself to stop snacking? Here’s 5 tried and tested tricks that we find work:
We often think we’re hungry when we’re actually thirsty, which is why it is so important to drink enough water and stay hydrated.
If you’re stuck between meals and feel yourself getting hungry, try having a drink of water before reaching for something to eat and this may do the job!
If plain water isn’t for you then sugar-free cordial, green tea or even zero-calorie drinks are a suitable alternative that won’t pile calories and sugar onto your daily allowance!
Split Your Meals In Half
If eating three meals a day just doesn’t work for you, why not try eating 6 times?
When you come to prepare your meal, weigh out the amount for your full meal, calculating calories for the entire meal but then just plate half up and put the rest in the fridge or to one side. Eat one half when you’re initially hungry then wait a couple of hours and have the other half.
If you do this with breakfast, lunch and your evening meal, you can eat every 2-3 hours whilst only eating the same amount of calories as you’d usually have when eating three meals.
You could follow this schedule:
- 7:30am – Half of Breakfast
- 10:30am – Other Half of Breakfast
- 1:00pm – Half of Lunch
- 3:30pm – Other Half of Lunch
- 6:00pm – Half of Dinner
- 8:30pm – Other Half of Dinner
*if you find eating late at night makes you struggle to sleep, maybe try eating your evening meal in just one sitting.
More Protein in Every Meal
Protein and healthy carbohydrates are what will keep you fuller for longer, not beige carbohydrates and refined sugars.
Meat, fish and vegetables all offer slow-releasing energy that keeps you full, whereas pasta, potatoes, cakes and biscuits make you feel bloated and full of energy for an hour or so, then this dips off very quickly and you feel extremely hungry again, so you need to make your meals with more of the good stuff!
A full daily meal plan could look like:
Breakfast: Two Eggs and Two Bacon Medallions
Lunch: Roast Chicken Breast with Salad
Dinner: Salmon with Courgette Spaghetti, Broccoli, Peas and Sweet Chilli Sauce
Dessert: Yogurt with Fruit
Try Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent Fasting is a dieting concept where you only eat during a certain window of time during the day and the rest of the time, you just drink water.
This is supposed to help digestion and metabolism but could also indirectly stop you snacking or if you do really need a snack in the afternoon, you should have the calorie allowance to have one.
Many people will work on a 16:8 split every day, meaning they have an 8-hour window where they eat and then they don’t for the other 16 hours of this day. This could mean you start eating at 11am and stop at 7pm, or whatever works for you.
Eating in this way would mean that if you had a 1500 daily calorie allowance, you would only be able to consume these calories in the 8-hour window, which means you’re more likely to be able to snack between your lunch and evening meal, as you would have the calories to do so.
The Art of Distraction
Distraction won’t do anything to physically stop your hunger if you genuinely are hungry but we often snack when we’re bored, so keeping busy and doing something to distract yourself when you feel a craving for food, could stop you eating when you don’t need to!
Go for a walk, read a book, meet a friend, play with the dog, answer some emails, anything that will keep you busy and stop you thinking about food. If you distract yourself for half an hour and still feel genuinely hungry, then maybe try half a piece of fruit or have half of one of your meals earlier than planned!
If you can stop yourself from being a snacker then you may find your weight loss journey even more successful, so give some of these tips a try and see how you get on!