We’ve all been there—it’s just after lunch and suddenly you’re reaching for a midday snack. It can be difficult to decipher if you’re truly hungry or just wanting something to nibble on out of boredom. There are many factors that can contribute to that hunger pang you might be feeling (some of which might surprise you!). Today I’m helping you tell the difference between true hunger and those pesky snack attacks. The next time you get that itch to grab a snack, remember these five tips…
1. Start with a plan.
First things first, do you regularly eat breakfast, lunch and dinner? Eating regular meals and sticking to an eating schedule can help cut down on cravings throughout the rest of the day. To help you consistently eat well-balanced meals consider meal planning at the beginning of the week. Don’t let being busy be an excuse (because I know I have!). It’s important to get in a healthy meal even when you’re on the go. For breakfast make a fast and healthy smoothie. Stock up your refrigerator and pantry so that you can pack a fresh and filling salad for lunch and come home to an already planned and prepped dinner.
2. Don’t make excuses.
Sometimes our feelings and emotions can be masked as hunger. Eating because you’re bored or stressed is something that most of us can relate to and is also something that can get out of hand. The next time you’re thinking about grabbing a snack, take a minute to assess how you’re feeling. (If you’re really craving a quick bite, keep reading for some healthy snack alternatives.)
3. Keep healthy foods on hand.
It’s true, snacks get a bad rap. That’s because junk food and sugary snacks are easily accessible (thanks vending machines). But lets face reality—snack attacks happen to all of us. Snacking throughout the day doesn’t have to be something to be ashamed of, just be sure that you’re making the right choices about them. Opt for keeping healthy yet filling snacks on hand for when your cravings sneak up on you during the day. I always keep a couple of Kind bars in my car for whenever I’m stuck in inevitable LA traffic. If you’re at a desk all day, keep a few healthy snacks like homemade trail mix or apples and walnut butter next to your desk for easy access. If you’re only “hungry” for junk food, you’re probably not actually that hungry.
4. Maintain your hydration.
When was the last time you had a glass of water? If you aren’t drinking enough water throughout the day your thirst can actually be disguised as being hungry. So the next time you’re tempted to reach for a treat, drink a glass of water and see if your craving is fulfilled.
5. Write it down.
Keeping a food diary is more helpful than you think. Writing down your meals can help pinpoint your food cravings and can also help you keep track of what you’re eating on a daily basis. That way you’ll see on paper exactly what you ate, when you ate it. You can then adjust your schedule accordingly to satisfy your snack cravings.
Do you have snack attacks during the day? How do you control your snacking?
Let me know your tips in the comments!