7 Ways to Curb Those Annoying Snack CravingsArticle posted in: Nutrition
People turn to snacking for all sorts of reasons, and whether your snack cravings are due to stress, hunger or boredom, snacking can become a dangerous habit. Snacking has a bad reputation because we often choose unhealthy food items, and with no meal structure to constrain us, we eat way more than the recommended serving. Silencing those snack cravings in the back of your mind urging you to devour the closest bag of chips can prove to be difficult… very difficult.
Instead of trying to ignore your cravings, learn how to keep them from occurring in the first place, so you never even have to test your willpower. Find out how you can curb your cravings, end your bad snacking habits for good and stay on track with your weight loss.
Here are seven ways to avoid those overzealous snack cravings:
1. Drink Lots of Water.
If you haven’t swapped sugary sodas and juices for water by now, you may want to start. Changing to water from empty-calorie drinks is a great and easy way to maintain weight control, and water is also great for filling you up!
In a study, presented by the American Chemical Society, those who drank water before meals ate less and lost an average of about four and a half more pounds over a 12-week period than those who did not drink water prior to the meal. Water can help you avoid hunger and unnecessary snacking altogether because “it fills up the stomach with a substance that has zero calories. People feel fuller as a result and eat less.”
2. Stay Active and Increase Physical Activity.
If you’re someone who often snacks due to boredom, stress or because you have too many feelings (it’s okay!), keeping yourself busy is your best bet. If you always have something to do, you won’t have time to let your mind tunnel down that sinister snacking spiral.
Research about the effects of cravings, published by The National Center for Biotechnology Information, found that getting in a good exercise session can lessen chocolate cravings. Staying active can help you to fill your empty hours with walks, trips to the gym or even household chores (yes, chores count as physical activity).
3. Eat More Protein and Healthy Fat.
Upping your protein and healthy fat intake can help you get the right nutrients you need to satisfy your stomach and keep you full. A study, published by the American Society for Clinical Nutrition, explains how those who increased their protein intake by just 15% showed higher weight loss and “a clear decrease in hunger and increase in fullness.” Foods such as avocados, cheese, eggs, nuts, fish and olive oil can help to fill you up without any chance for snack cravings to creep in.
4. Decrease Your Simple Carb Intake.
Certain carbs are hurting you more than you think. Not only can they bloat your waistline, refined carbs such as white bread can make you hungrier after consumption. Simple carbs are turned into sugars in your body quicker than complex carbs are, and when you up your glucose levels, your body reacts adversely. That’s why we follow a low-carb diet approach here at South Beach Diet. While carbs are not completely restricted in the South Beach Diet, we suggest choosing “Good Carbs” such as beans, legumes and eventually whole grain items.
A study about the effects of carbohydrates on cravings, published by The Journal of Nutrition, states that “shorter-chain carbohydrates are likely to have more of an intake-promoting effect” and “complex carbohydrates are likely to have more of an intake-restraining effect.” This means simple carbs will cause reactions in your body making you feel hunger at a more rapid rate. Make sure you are reaching for healthy carbs such as whole grains, legumes and brown rice.
5. Eat Small Portions Five or Six Times a Day.
Eating well-portioned meals more frequently throughout the day is often better for your weight control because, essentially, your “snacks” become smaller portioned meals. Research, published by The National Center for Biotechnology Information, explains that eating more frequently, but in smaller portions, can create appetite control. Eating more consistently throughout the day keeps your metabolism up, and it keeps you feeling full—right up until the next meal!
6. Practice Control at the Grocery Store.
Be your own best friend and keep your pantry stocked with good, wholesome and nutritious food (so you can’t even cheat on your low carb diet if you wanted to). It’s easier to practice self-control whilst shopping at the supermarket than in your own home—especially when those cravings strike while on the couch. When those inevitable snack cravings do strike, make sure to be fully supplied with an array of healthy food options to ensure you always have something healthy to turn to.