Tips to Avoid Over-Snacking While at Home
By Mara Hurst
While we are sitting around at home, with nothing to do, boredom strikes. And sometimes with that boredom, we resort to grabbing a snack to eat away this feeling. Most of us aren’t aware we’re doing it until the day is over. The question is, how do we stop over-snacking? In order to stop, it’s important to understand why we are doing it in the first place.
Reasons for Over-Snacking
- Boredom: One potential reason for over-snacking is boredom. When we are bored, our brain searches for a quick fix of dopamine, the happiness chemical. Eating a snack you really enjoy, even though you aren’t actually hungry, gives you that rush of dopamine which temporarily ends the boredom.
- Nutrition: Another reason someone may be snacking too much is that they are not eating enough or the right balance of nutrients during meal time. If you are eating your three meals a day and are still over-snacking, it’s time to take a look at what you’re actually eating. If you aren’t getting enough protein, carbohydrates, or vitamins during your meals, you may turn to snacking to get those nutrients or fill the space with sugars and salts.
- Thirst: Also, sometimes we confuse hunger with thirst. Hunger and thirst feel very similar in our bodies, so it is extremely easy to confuse the two.
- Stress: Finally, a reason you may be over snacking is because you are stressed. Stress helps to produce a hormone called cortisol, which increases hunger. Stress is a feeling that triggers your fight or flight response. Your body makes you hungry to fuel up for a fight, when in reality you may just be nervous for your test. Now that we know all of the reasons for over-snacking, how do we stop it?
Tips to Stop Over-Snacking
- Are you thirsty? The first, and easiest step to stop over-snacking is to see if you’re just thirsty. If you start to feel hungry, grab a glass of water first and drink that. If you feel good afterwards, then you are just thirsty. However, if you are still feeling unsatisfied, then you are hungry.
- Are you bored? If you think you are just bored, distract yourself. Go for a small walk, or read a book. Try to fix your boredom and see if that stops the hunger.
- Are you eating poorly? Another fix for over-snacking is to choose healthy, satisfying foods for your meals. If you dislike what you are eating, odds are you will grab a snack to give you that little bit of dopamine. Meals should be enjoyable! Not only should your stomach enjoy them, but your other senses too. Choose foods that are appealing to your smell and sight, and then you’ll be more likely to eat a fulfilling amount.
- Are you stressed? If you’re eating purely because of stress, it’s time to take a step back and evaluate the situation. Ask yourself important questions like: “What is making me stressed?” “How can I soothe myself?” “What is standing in my way from being relaxed?” It is just as important to take care of ourselves mentally as it is to take care of ourselves physically.
There are a multitude of different tactics out there to stop over-snacking, but it is important to only use the ones that work for you. Some of the tactics can be very triggering for those who have experienced, or are experiencing, a negative relationship with food. So keep in mind that it is good to stop snacking, but it is better to keep your body nourished. Food is fuel – just make sure you’re choosing the right fuel for your body.
Fose, Courtney. How to Stop Snacking.” wikiHow. https://www.wikihow.health/Stop-Snacking
myfitnesspal. “8 Surprising Reasons You Can’t Stop Snacking.” https://blog.myfitnesspal.com/8-sneaky-reasons-you-want-to-eat-nonstop/