Unplanned snacks may steer you away from your healthy eating plan because they’re often high in calories and low in nutrients. These four ideas can help you build your willpower so you can curb the urge to snack.
- Know your body. If you always crave something sugary when doing your monthly bills, plan for it! Prepare a better-for-you snack such as fresh berries, instead of raiding your kids’ candy stash.
Craving fact: Eating sugar releases endorphins which may boost mood. But give in too often and it’s hard to stop. Moderation is the key. Pro tip: Unless you’re feeding a crew, steer clear of that “family bag” of sweets and purchase single servings to satisfy your cravings.
- Think (and drink) before you chew. Before heading to the snack cabinet, think about what your brain is really trying to tell you. Are you thirsty? Bored? Tired? Lonely? Your craving may go away if you fill one of those other needs.
Craving fact: Clinical studies have shown we have a hard time distinguishing hunger from thirst. Sipping water throughout the day can help you stay hydrated.
- Distract yourself. Some cravings are simply habits that need to be improved. If you watch football each Sunday and indulge in overloaded nachos during half time, it’s time to start a new healthier routine. Plan to walk the dog or call a friend during the game break instead.
Craving fact: Did you stay up late Saturday night? Not getting enough sleep may increase your appetite and reduce your willpower. Having a consistent sleep schedule may help you curb the urge.
- Choose fiber-rich foods. Soluble fiber helps you feel fuller longer. It slows the digestion process and the rate sugar is released into your bloodstream. One serving of Sunfiber contains 6 grams of soluble fiber. That’s the equivalent to about 1.5 cups of oatmeal. The daily fiber recommendation is 25 to 37 grams of fiber a day, but most people consume less than 15 grams.
Craving fact: Eating every three to five hours helps keep your blood sugar stable. Choose quality over quantity: lean protein, high fiber, fresh fruits and vegetables.