When you’re home all day long and you’re basically required to keep snacks on hand (hello tiny humans that need to eat every couple of hours), it’s hard not to grab a handful of something every time you walk by the kitchen. No, not something you struggle with? Okay, just skip to the next post while I’m over here trying not to eat all the peanut M&Ms.
I’ve found I’m more susceptible to unnecessary snacking when I’m tired, when I don’t have a set plan, and when food is easily accessible. So, it’s no surprise that I used to find myself snacking constantly. Here are a handful of tips I’ve found really helpful when trying to be more intentional about what I eat at home during the day:
Go to bed early
Okay, okay, I know this one isn’t always possible and it certainly isn’t popular. But I know I’m not alone in making the worst food choices after nine pm. Science shows that our self control is lower by the end of the day so stop tempting yourself. The alternative is to quit eating after 9 pm and stick to it. But, if you struggle with that, just try to be in bed earlier. I’m way more likely to eat between the hours of 9 and 11 pm than I am from 5 to 7 am.
Brush your teeth
I’ve heard this tip many times to help with the late night snacking, but it also works really well in the morning and afternoon. Brush your teeth after lunch and with that mint taste in your mouth you’re far less likely to grab those pretzels lying around.
But first, water.
Drinking lots of water is always a good idea, but it also helps curb your appetite. Did you know sometimes your body mistakes thirst for hunger? So you might be feeling hungry (and I’m a big advocate of eating when you’re hungry), but you’re actually just dehydrated. A good rule of thumb is to drink a glass of water before you want to eat anything. It will keep you hydrated and some of the time, when you’re done with your drink, you won’t be craving those cookies anymore.
I keep a straw water bottle full around the house (I find I drink more out of a straw cup than any other kind of cup) and have recently gotten really into the flavored water drops (although those are better used in water bottles that aren’t transparent or your kids will be stealing your water all. the. time).
Keep gum on hand.
I’ve started keeping a few packs of gum in a drawer in the kitchen, instead of just in my purse. This way, when I wander into the kitchen in search of something to eat when I’m not really hungry, I have something else that tastes good to pop in instead. It is also really great for tying me over for that hour before dinner when I’m hungry but don’t want to fill up on something when we’re about to eat a meal. Or when I’m baking and need a little self-control boost to not eat ALL the dough.
A few weeks ago I scattered a few different packs of Orbit to various places (diaper bags, car console, desk, nightstand) and it has been really helpful (and has me wondering why I haven’t kept gum in the car earlier in life because it’s so helpful when I need a little breath freshener before heading to someone’s house or the gym). Orbit® sugarfree gum is available in so many flavors but my favorites right now are Bubblemint and Sweet Mint ;).
Out of sight, out of mind
I grew up with a bowl of candy almost always stocked somewhere in the house. And generally, I feel like I do just fine when a bowl of M&Ms is sitting in the entryway. But, if it’s sitting on my desk while I’m working, before I realize half the bowl is gone. Even if, like me, you think you have great self control, you’re less likely to think about eating if you don’t have a visual reminder every time you walk by.
In a similar vein, don’t put your snacks and treats at eye level front and center in your cabinets or pantry. Keep those away on a back shelf so you aren’t reminded of them every time you open the door. I promise, you won’t forget you bought girl scout cookies. But, you probably won’t eat them at two p.m. when you wander in into the kitchen. Instead you’ll have them for dessert on Sunday night with the family.
Don’t multi task
Did you know that if you’re doing something else while you eat, you’ll eat more? Studies have shown that if you’re eating while watching a show, reading a magazine, or just scrolling through your phone, you’ll eat more than you would if you were just focused on your food. So put down the remote, put away your phone, and be present with that plate.
Plan for healthy snacks
The tips for eating are always changing. It was three meals a day with two snacks. Then it was five small meals a day. Then it was only eating a meal times. But you know your body. If you know you’re going to need a snack each afternoon, plan for it. Just like you have a general idea of what you’ll eat for dinner each week, plan and prep for healthy snacks. Consider writing a list and putting it on the fridge so when the hunger hits, you have a list of cookie alternatives.
It’s also likely that your kids need snacks during the day. Finding healthy snacks you can eat together helps foster healthy habits for both of you and you don’t have to try and exercise self control not to eat all of your toddlers snacks (guilty).
Commit to only eating in the kitchen
It goes along with the multitasking, I think, but did you know if you eat outside of the kitchen you end up eating more? If you treat snacks like regular meal times and only eat in the kitchen, you’re more likely to eat what you think is a good amount and then go back to whatever you were doing. The alternative is bringing the snack with you to your desk, or to the floor where you’re playing with your kids, or to your bed where you’re watching netflix…and then half an hour later you don’t even know how much you’ve eaten.
**I think another great fix for this is portioning out your snack. I like to bring my lunch or snack to my desk while the kids nap because I don’t want to spend a precious fifteen minutes sitting in the kitchen just eating. But, by portioning out exactly what I’m going to be eating, instead of just grabbing the whole box of chocolate covered almonds, I don’t mindlessly eat long past my hunger has been satisfied.
Don’t grocery shop when you’re hungry.
Is it just me, or do you always end up buying more junk food when you grocery shop hungry? If it isn’t in the house, you can’t eat it so stick to your list when you grocery shop. Better yet, order your groceries online and pick them up at the store. I find the Oreos are far less temping on my computer screen than they are on the display at the end of the aisle.
So what would you add to this list? How do you control the urge to munch all day long at home with the kids?
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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.