Attaining your weight-loss goals can be difficult when you have trouble controlling your snacking. Obviously, there are many factors that can contribute to weight gain, but snacking is well up there, at the top of the list.
In this article, we’ll examine how snacking affects your body, but more importantly, I’ll provide you with best tips to help you stop snacking.
Understanding the effect of snacking on the body
The adult stomach takes between four to six hours to digest a complete meal. It’s important to note that the length of this process can vary depending on the biochemical composition of the foods ingested.
Therefore, if you eat between meals, even a small amount, you are essentially disrupting the digestive process that is underway.
The stomach will immediately stop digesting, to allow for the biochemical composition of the new foods, and then restart the digestive process.
This disruption requires the body to work harder and taxes the digestive system. It can also cause indigestion and sometimes even the production of toxins.
Other side effects include: fatigue, sleep disorders, various infections, weight gain, etc.
5 Tips to Stop Snacking
1. Make your main meals more balanced
If you’re snacking because you’re hungry, this means you’re not eating enough during your main meals. So, if you feel like snacking one or two hours after eating, you need to readjust the amount of food you consume at your main meals.
This is often the case with people who want to lose weight and therefore make the mistake of eating less. Diets are actually not a good idea and I will deal with the subject in more detail in this article.
In order to stop snacking, it is essential to eat enough during your main meals; otherwise, you’ll continue to have food cravings. To learn more, I invite you to read the following article: “Relearning How to Eat Without Counting Calories”.
2. Drink lots of water!
Hunger is easily confused with thirst. When in doubt, drink a glass of water before grabbing a snack! Wait for fifteen minutes and then ask yourself if you’re still hungry. If your hunger persists, then you can eat a snack (well-balanced and healthy if possible!).
3. Are you really hungry, or just bored?
This is a question you need to ask yourself. It’s quite common to feel the urge to snack when you’re bored. I recommend distracting yourself and doing something else. Go out and get some air, meet up with friends, read a book, do an activity that keeps your hands busy. It doesn’t matter what you choose to do: the idea is to distract yourself with something other than food.
4. Organize your kitchen cabinets
If you remove sugary foods or other snacks from your kitchen cabinets, then you can significantly reduce the risk of mindless snacking. Keeping your snacks “hidden” or out of reach doesn’t work! Rethink your diet.
5. Brush your teeth
This trick really works. The reason is that, if you still have lingering flavors in your mouth, you’ll continue to crave them and the risk of snacking increases considerably.
Having a snack is not the same as snacking!
By snacking, we mean eating a little, but very often, of everything, and anything. Most processed foods are full of additives which sabotage your efforts to stop snacking after just one mouthful. It’s the perfect combination of fat and sugar or salt that makes you crave these unhealthy foods.
A snack, however, is like a meal, but in a smaller quantity, so it has fewer calories. It should be as well-balanced as possible.
To stop snacking and give your body time to digest, a good solution is to opt for a healthy snack.
Optional morning snack:
If you have breakfast at 7 a.m., you’ll have to wait five hours before lunchtime (noon). Some people can get along fine without a snack; however, this isn’t the case for everyone. If this is a concern for you, then I recommend waiting till at least 10 a.m. to eat a snack. Ideally, fresh or pureed fruit and some nuts are enough to get you through to your midday meal. Also, because fruit is digested quite easily and rapidly, your stomach won’t be taxed at lunchtime.
If you eat lunch at noon and dinner at around 8 p.m., this means that there will be 8 hours between these two meals. It’s completely understandable (and logical) that you will be hungry during the afternoon, generally between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.
In this case, you should have a snack that is a little more substantial than your morning one. Make sure that it includes a source of protein (low-fat white cheese, for example), a source of carbs (perhaps a banana, or some cereal) and a source of fats (a small quantity of healthy fats, like peanut butter or nuts). For some inspiration, check out the varied, healthy and delicious recipes on the Nutri Coach app.
Do you have any tips to help stop snacking? Share your comments below!