Friday, April 2, 2010

Break the Snacking Habit

Breaking the snacking habit is not impossible. There are many little things you can do to prevent yourself from grabbing those unneeded snacks throughout the day. Believe it or not, snacking is not usually done because of hunger, but more out of routine or boredom. Here are some strategies for avoiding getting caught up in the "snack trap":

  • Keep all tempting goodies in the back! Keep them in the back of the cabinets, in the back of the refrigerator, freezer and pantry. If the goodies are in the back and harder to reach, you may give up before actually reaching them.
  • Out of sight, out of mind. Make sure the candy jar at work and the cookie jar at home are out of sight. Move the candy jar off your desk. If you can't see it, you may even forget there is a candy jar.
  • Think substitutes. Pre-cut and bag hard and crunchy veggies so they are ready to grab instead of a bag of chips. Keep fresh, whole fruit accessible for your sweet cravings.
  • Check in with your body to see if you are actually hungry before reaching for a snack.
  • If you are about to start snacking, distract yourself for 5 minutes with a task unrelated to food such as a phone call or laundry. You may not want the snack when you're done.
  • After dinner shut down your kitchen, lights out, kitchen closed.

Is breaking the snack habit easy? Not really, but it is not impossible. For additional support, schedule an appointment with a registered dietitian.

Wendy Caamano, MS, CN, dietetic intern, and Debra A. Boutin, MS, RD, chair and dietetic internship director, Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Bastyr University

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