In order to change your habits, you have to interrupt the pattern of behavior. As we all know, this is often easier said than done. Snacking itself isn’t inherently unhealthy. Sometimes, people “unconsciously snack” when feeling bored, stressed, or emotional. Here are a few nutrition experts advice on how to stop mindless snacking.
#1 Set Boundaries For Yourself.
Robert Glatter, MD and an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital, Northwell Health, says that you can channel self-control by getting into the habit of choosing healthier snack foods. Then you can work on portioning them out to avoid overeating.
#2 Try To Eat Slowly.
Robert Glatter also recommends slowing down when eating. “Eating slowly is also one of the most important behaviors to adapt, Eating slowly helps to slow digestion, and re-calibrates your body to better determine if you are eating truly because you are hungry, or secondary to emotion.”
#3 Focus On Your Feelings.
If snacking is an emotional habit, focus on your feelings rather than food. The key is to retrain your brain to focus on your emotional state, and use alternative techniques to replace hunger with more pleasant feelings so you won’t be tempted to binge on snack food unconsciously.
#4 Tracking Your Snacking.
Start tracking your snacks in a note on your phone, or in a physical notebook or journal. Food journaling is an excellent way to be mindful of your snacking, it is also important to not only record what you are eating when you are eating it but it is also important to jot down some notes about how you are feeling and why you are eating.
#5 Make Unhealthy Snacks Less Accessible.
If tempting foods are taken out of the equation, you’re less likely to graze. It is important not to leave food and snacks just lying around for you to eat whenever you want. Making it more difficult to eat snack foods will greatly reduce the amount of mindless eating you are doing.
#6 Don’t Associate Snacks With Rewards.
Many parents will still give junk food or sweets to children as a reward for being good or achieving goals. When the child gets the snack, they get a dopamine surge in their brain because they have been recognized for doing well by their parents.