Strategies to Manage Food Cravings and Needless Snacking
Are you finding you are snacking more than normal? Are you sabotaging your progress by consuming excess calories through snacking on high calorie foods? Here are a few strategies to conquer this.
1 Stay hydrated.
When we are dehydrated we often mistaken this for hunger, our energy levels drop and we reach for a pick me up. Drinking water regularly will help keep you hydrated and less likely to feel the need to snack.
2. Eat More Protein
Protein has been shown to suppress the appetite and make you feel fuller for longer. A breakfast higher in protein for example may stop you from feeling the need to snack throughout the morning.
3. Have Better Main Meals
Are you eating well-balanced main meals that include protein, carbohydrates and fat sources? Could you eat a little more during these meal times to stop you from snacking throughout the day? Sometimes having a bigger lunch can help to fuel you for longer. A few extra calories at lunch with a slightly bigger portion will beat having a small lunch and a lot of extra calories in snacking through the afternoon. Sometimes we crave sweet things because our body isn’t getting enough of something, try not to go too low on carbohydrates at main meals.
4. Factor in Snacks
If you can spend a bit of time understanding calories and what your body requires day to day, i.e. what are enough and what is too much you can then allow yourself to include some of the foods you ‘crave’ without it damaging your progress. Being restrictive isn’t the answer, being inclusive is. Those with a long-term mentality to dieting will progress further than those with a short-term focus. Yes certain foods need to be controlled and limited but they can and should be included in your diet if you wish to be seeing results 6-12months from now.
I seem to write sleep as the answer to everything but I really believe it is. Lack of sleep has been linked to increased stress and anxiety both of which can lead to having a haphazard approach to nutrition. When we go long periods with reduced sleep we can feel low on energy, have a reduced motivation to train, to cook, to prepare foods and to perform at our best. I know from personal experience that I chose better options, snack less and feel less cravings when I am going through periods of sleeping 7-8 hours a night versus 5-6.
6. Have go to Alternatives
The first 5 strategies are really asking you to look at the bigger picture and improve the basics, with that you should see cravings and the need to snack reduce. However it is useful to have some go to methods to counter act those craving habits. I have found that having a strong black coffee to be a great snack alternative, the caffeine picks you up and the process of drinking a hot drink fills you up a bit and takes your mind off of the snacking. I’ve also found diet 0 calorie drinks like diet coke or diet irn bru to satisfy the sweet tooth without consuming any extra calories. Other notable shout outs are low calorie jelly as a substitute to ice cream, popcorn as a substitute to crisps and berries. Berries are tasty, low calorie and full of goodness, for example 50 strawberries are the same calories as a small chocolate bar.
7. Conquer your boredom
I often hear the reason for the snacking being down to boredom. Perhaps try to acknowledge the times you feel bored and instead of reaching for the biscuit tin stimulate yourself by going for a walk, reading a book, stretching, phoning a friend or doing an exercise. Try to flip these periods around in your favour. Snacking shouldn’t be the answer to your boredom.
If you found any of this to be useful please feel free to get in touch and let me know. Or if you have any questions regarding nutrition you would like answered or an article on drop me a message.