Tips to Help Snackers & Grazers

Hello, I’m a Snacker snacks

I don’t always crave junk food though, so my weight has been roughly in the normal weight range for my height. There have been times however when I’ve noticed the weight creeping up and my energy levels dipping from snacking on unhealthy foods.

Since I’m pregnant, I’m trying to become even more mindful of my snacking habits. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve fell for the convenience and charm of that box of Twinkies in the pantry. People have told me that I’m eating for two, but that doesn’t mean I want to double my calorie intake. I’ve been working on increase my calories appropriately with healthy and delicious food.

Tips to Becoming a Mindful Snacker

Curious to see if there were any books on the topic, I stopped by my local library and found a few. One that caught my eye was Mindles Eating by Brian Wansink, a director at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab.  His book offered some practical tips based on food lab studies that I wanted to share and offer my personal observations and comments on:

  • Think back: If you have high calorie / unhealthy foods that you constantly snack on, Wansink suggests moving them to the back of your refrigerator, pantry, cupboards, etc. Make it a bit harder to reach and you can cut back on your mindless snacking habits.
  • Don’t buy snacks ahead of time: Besides making it easier for you to indulge in your snacking habits, not buying unhealthy foods can also trim a bit off of your grocery bill. I’ve found that not having boxes of snack cakes in the house encourages me to eat more fruit. When we have friends over I encourage them to take some of the snacks with them. When we have leftovers they usually end up being eaten in a day or two.
  • Substitute your cravings: Wansink suggests finding foods that have similar textures, such as crunchy vegetables. I have a sweet tooth, so I try to have yogurt and some Kashi around the house for snacks.
  • Chew gum: This tip is to help reduce consumption of chips, cookies, ice cream, and candy.
  • Place healthy foods in sight: The opposite of the first tip, Wansink suggests that you make healthy option easily assessable to you whenever you want to graze. You’ll satisfy your personal eating habits, but you’ll be improving your health as well. I’ll let you know that this has worked for me and helped me by having fruits readily available.

Thoughts on Snacking

I really like most of the tips offered because they’re 1) easy to do and 2) small changes to my routine. I’m not looking to diet (as most people associate with the word). Instead I’m looking to tweak my eating patterns into something beneficial and enjoyable. I still think food is fun.

I’d love to get your feedback on this topic.  How do you keep your snacking habit in check? What has been the hardest to adjust? What has been the easiest?

Photo Credit: swanksalot