Taming the snack monster

Hi friends πŸ™‚ How’s your day going?

Lately I’ve been doing something fun that I haven’t done in a while: training a client on a distance basis. Recently, I got an email asking for some guidance, and decided to go for it since this particular individual knows how to lift weights and is already comfortable working out. I send her a plan each week and we have a weekly Skype chat to answer questions and go over goals. I’m absolutely loving it πŸ™‚

Yesterday, we spent some of our conversation talking about smart snacking and taming the snack monster.

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(Why are those little bunnies so delicious??)

This is something I’m sure many people can relate to. It’s easy to grab a snack when you’re feeling emotional, hormonal (gimme alllllllll the chocolate), or bored.

Before I continue on with this post, I just want to clarify that I’m talking about mindless snacking, not depriving yourself if you’re actually hungry. You need to nourish and feed your body! If you feel that reading the rest of this post would be uncomfortable or triggering for you, it might be worth a skip. What we read can affect our minds, and it’s up to everyone to us their best judgement. If you’re experiencing or recovering from an eating disorder, I’m sending all of my love and healing wishes to you.

Back in the day, I was a big-time snacker, mostly out of boredom, sometimes out of emotion. Containers of coconut milk ice cream tasted even better when the Pilot was deployed and I hadn’t heard from him. Even when I was in and out of the house all day with school and work, when I was home, I’d grab something to snack even when I wasn’t really hungry. I’ve kind of gotten away from it. Now, when I have a snack, it’s a good and filling one, instead of random bites here and there.

Here are some of the things that have helped me tame the snack monster:

-Eat something healthy first. Usually if I’m my sweet tooth is going wacko, it’s not real hunger…  I’m just feeling tired and looking for a sugar buzz. So I’ll grab something healthy AND sweet (like an apple with almond butter) and if I still really want the sweet treat afterwards, I eat it. NBD.

Juice and fruit  1 of 1

-Drink lots of water. Getting enough water can be tough, but if you stick to it -aim for 96oz a day, and yes, tea and coffee count towards water intake- your skin and fullness levels will thank you. I always feel amazing when I drink enough water, and notice that I’m not as snacky.

-Keep easy-to-grab and smart choices on hand. Fresh fruit, homemade hummus with cruditΓ©s, trail mix, amazeballs, Paleo bread, turkey roll ups and smoothies are some favorites.

Practice yoga. I find that when I devote time to a regular yoga practice, I’m more mindful of everything, snacking included.

-Make lunch and breakfast more satisfying. If I skimp on breakfast or lunch, I’m naturally much hungrier (and need to snack more) during the day. Don’t be afraid to enjoy a hefty breakfast and lunch, filled with lean protein, smart starches and healthy fats. 

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-Save the sugar for later. I’m not sure if this happens to anyone else, but if I have something super sweet in the morning or with lunch, my sweet tooth doesn’t stop all day. I like saving sweet treats for dessert with a glass of wine. After that, my sweet tooth and I head to bed πŸ˜‰

So tell me, friends: any tips for taming the snack monster?

What’s your favorite easy snack?

Lately, I’m loving homemade trail mix with almonds, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries and dark chocolate chips.

Hope you have a wonderful day!

xoxo

Gina

 

 

 

 

 

 

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71 Comments

  1. Mariah on October 7, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    To avoid “grazing” and mindless eating, I try to stay away from the kitchen and go out for a nice walk. Even if it’s only for 10 minutes, it get’s your mind off of food, and afterwards, you might find that you don’t want to snack after all. Also, I drink a BIG cup of tea. Usually, if I have a steaming cup of Chai tea, I can resist the urge to snack.

    If you have to put something in your mouth, suck on a frozen banana. It’s sweet and cold, and since it takes a while to eat, it should curb your cravings and get rid of that “fake” hunger. πŸ™‚

    • Priya on October 7, 2013 at 10:29 pm

      i LOVE doing this with blueberries!! πŸ˜€ already bite size

  2. Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs on October 7, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Great tips!

    My go-to snack is always an apple + pb — does the trick every time!

    • Julie on October 7, 2013 at 6:26 pm

      I need some apples. Sometimes I’ll make some popcorn or have salsa and chips if I’m looking for something salty.

  3. Tara | Treble in the Kitchen on October 7, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Love this! I also find that when I regularly practice yoga, even if it’s once a week, I am more mindful of myself and everything I do (including snacking). I also try to have healthy fruits and veggies always available. A favorite snack? Peanut butter and celery and hummus with veggies…always a fav!

  4. Lauren on October 7, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    my sweet tooth and i are really butting heads lately.. especially RIGHT NOW. i just cant stay away from my cereal with a little cinnamon and honey. (and by cereal i mean like a huge heaping bowlful). still struggling but i did some good prepping last night so maybe ill be able to control it a little better this week!

  5. Amber on October 7, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    Raw almonds always helps get my mind off of snacking.

    [she said after inhaling a fun-size pack of peanut m&ms and a butterfinger bite *gasp*]

    • Fitnessista on October 7, 2013 at 10:14 pm

      [’tis the season] πŸ™‚

  6. Lisa on October 7, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    Awesome tips. I find that when I’m stressed I actually have the opposite problem…but on a regular basis I’m pretty much a Snack monster. Mostly because I’m either bored or thirsty.

  7. Whitney @ Life - Love, Whit on October 7, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    Being preggo I feel like I’m constantly snacking! Some of my favorites right now are crackers & cheese, rice cakes with PB/jelly, tangerines & string cheese. Thank goodness this baby girl does not have me craving sweets or I would be in trouble. Here’s hoping I can make it through the holiday season πŸ™‚

  8. Tamara on October 7, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    Eat something sweet later in the day definitely works for me! If I have something sweet in the morning there’s not enough sugar that can satisfy me all day!

  9. Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves on October 7, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    Love these tips! I definitely am someone who has trouble drinking enough water so I’m working on that.
    One of my favorite healthy sweet treats is dried figs or apricots dipped in plain 2% Greek yogurt. Satisfies my sweet tooth, gives me a little protein from the yogurt, and tastes delicious!

  10. Olivia at ohmy Olivia on October 7, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    That’s a great idea about saving the sweet treats for evening – maybe then I’ll think ‘ooh I won’t sleep if I have all this now!’ xo

  11. Allison (Ms. Whirlwind) on October 7, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    I’m like that with my sweet treats also. Once I get started for the day, I can’t quit!

  12. Andrea R. @ Morning Runner Girl on October 7, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    I just wanted to say that you are so kind and sensitive! You probably don’t even realize how thoughtful that “disclaimer” was at the beginning of your post, letting people know that topics of nutrition/snacking/feeling-out-of-control can be triggering for people…. i am currently getting help for my eating disorder, but i still don’t know why that meant so so much to me when I read that little “heads-up!” sentence!
    Anyways… THANKS πŸ™‚ Your blog is wonderful and I read it constantly! Thanks for your kindness and great advice in life! Hope you have a great rest of the week!

    • Fitnessista on October 7, 2013 at 10:13 pm

      thank you so much for reading! it makes my heart happy to hear that. keep taking care of yourself and i’m sending lots of love to you! xo

  13. Giselle@myhealthyhappyhome on October 7, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    I always keep fresh veggies cut up in the fridge for easy access when I want to snack on something. Those and apple slices, raw nuts or grilled chicken strips. If it’s already cut up and ready to go I’m much more likely to grab it πŸ™‚

  14. Taylor @ Single-tracked Mind on October 7, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    I try to do the carb + protein combo when I get hungry.

  15. April on October 7, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    Definitely my favorite snack as of late is string cheese and an apple. Balanced and satisfying!

  16. Dominique @ That's What Domi Said on October 7, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    Eating REAL meals with plenty of protein definitely helps! (This coming from a girl who snacked on several carrots + cucumbers dunked in hummus and a side of bittersweet chocolate for “lunch” while she did food prep for the week…hahaha!)

    My favorite snack is probably hardboiled eggs and/or crudites with homemade Thai-inspired dip. Yes puhhlease!

  17. Kelly @ Laughter, Strength, and Food on October 7, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    I’m with you on the trail mix!…especially when I can make my own so I know exactly where everything is coming from!

  18. Kimberly on October 7, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    I try to keep snacks like almonds and healthy granola bars at my desk (I really only feel like snacking while at work). My favorite snack is frozen berries because it satisfies my sweet tooth! I let myself indulge a little bit each day so I don’t feel deprived the rest of the day.

  19. Michele on October 7, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Can I just tell you how much I love how tastefully you include trigger warnings? It takes a special person to understand 1- why they might be needed (some people get really mean when you gently suggest some type of signposting) and 2- how to do it without having EVERY SINGLE POST fall into the category (equally unhelpful) or coming off condescending, rude, or worst of all, pitying. I’ve struggled with an eating disorder for a really, really long time, and it got a TON worse when I found “healthy living” blogs. Yours is one of the few I still read, and absolutely love.

    so thank you, from the bottom of my heart πŸ™‚

    • Fitnessista on October 7, 2013 at 10:12 pm

      thank you michele, that means the world to me <3 sending lots of love to you! xoxo

  20. Michele on October 7, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    I save my sweet treat for right before bed. As I turn out all the lights and set the alarm, I eat one piece of chocolate. It’s kind of a little game I play with myself because I know I can have it but I just have to wait until bed time. If I ate it any earlier than that, I would never stop at one.

  21. Christina on October 7, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    Lately my go to snack are those DELISH paleo bars you posted a couple of weeks ago. I CAN’T GET ENOUGH, LOL!!

  22. Kristen on October 7, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    It’s taken me a while to figure out what works best for me. A huge balanced breakfast sets me up for a good day. It’s usually my biggest most calorie dense meal of the day.
    I agree with saving the sweets for the end of the day. I love a good sweet treat for breakfast every now and then but, man oh man, the cravings are raging the rest of the day!

    There are some days here and there that I am a bottomless pit all day no matter what. I just roll with it and move on.
    Current fave snack: plain Greek yogurt + homemade applesauce

  23. Mer on October 7, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    Yoga really is the best!

  24. Ali on October 7, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    Loved this post! My go to snack is pb2 and protein powder mixed with almond milk. I dip my apples slices in it. It satisfies my afternoon slump and sweet craving. I also love toast with almond butter and a tad of honey lately! And who can pass up homemade trail mix? Yum yum!

  25. Megan on October 7, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    I work from home, so when I get stressed, it’s super easy to run to the kitchen. Boxes of cereal have been consumed that way. Now, I try not to buy it. My go-tos are apples and peanut butter and lately i’ve been making homemade granola. Sometimes I’ll buy dark chocolate chips and keep them in the freezer for a chocolate fix.

  26. Lindsay on October 7, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    Great tips! I needed a reminder. πŸ™‚ I try to make sure I get enough protein and healthy fats, as I tend to gravitate toward carbs.

    ps…will you virtually train me, too? haha

  27. Brooke @ denaultstudios.blogspot.com on October 7, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    Great tips. Especially the one about saving your first sweet thing until later in the day. I definitely go on junk food rampages all day long if I indulge at breakfast.

  28. Sarah Anne on October 7, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    We eat late due to my husband’s school schedule and good snacks are so important for me. I’ve been struggling with it quite a bit but my FAV is a nice, crisp apple with super salty PB. Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter is salty and I love it.

    I am wanting to go vegan, but am finding dairy hard to get rid of in snacks. Cheese/cottage cheese & yogurt. πŸ™

    • Priya on October 7, 2013 at 10:32 pm

      I LOVE my yogurt, and because of the probiotics, its the only dairy i consume. it does have health benefits, and if you can live without it, its okay. if you really want to, try to limit it.

  29. Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat on October 7, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    Love these tips! For me drinking lots of water and having healthy snacks on hand has proven to be very useful. I keep almonds, granola bars or some fruit at work at all times, so when my tummy starts to rumble, I don’t head for the office candy bowl. It’s definitely super helpful and usually keeps me away from it!

  30. Amanda @ .running with spoons. on October 7, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    Making sure I eat enough in the first half of the day is probably the biggest one for me. I notice that on the days where I don’t eat a good breakfast or lunch, I usually end up snacking through most of the afternoon or evening and have a hard time feeling truly satisfied. That and avoiding sugar in the morning and early afternoon have been the most helpful.

    As for my favourite snacks, fruit with nut butter, yogurt messes, homemade protein bites, popcorn, smoothies, and dark chocolate usually do it for me.

  31. Caitlin @PieceOfCait on October 7, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    Trail mix is my go too! {fav is from trader joes} , I always enjoy a banana or apple with almond butter or turkey roll ups!

  32. Kristi on October 7, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    My favorite sweet snack right now is frozen red grapes. When I get home from the store I was them and put them in sandwich bags (about a cup per bag) and then pop them in the freezer. I like them because they are sweet and since they are frozen it takes a little longer to eat them instead of inhaling them.

  33. Emily @ Emily Rocks the Road on October 7, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    I love some carrots and almond butter, or maybe a couple of hard booiled eggs for a snack. I usually have to have a little something in the afternoon to make it through the commute to dinner. If I kid myself that those protein-packed bars will do it, they always trigger my sweet tooth, then the snacking NEVER STOPS!

  34. Danica @ It's Progression on October 7, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    Great post, Gina! I use the water and “eat something healthy first” tips the most – going for a walk always helps when I want to eat out of boredom, too.

  35. Yvonne Jones on October 7, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    Anyone else read through these comments and try to “like” them? Social media overload. FABULOUS post.. I have a snacking issue since I work from home πŸ™ I aim for a large glass of water when I’m *snacky*. Or I mix in chocolate protein powder in to milk or straight in to my coffee!

  36. Priya on October 7, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    my problem with snacking is kinda weird. i plan to eat my food, so i wont go for the 1 portion of good healthy food (doesnt matter of its carb fat protein fruit or veg), i’ll eat like 3x the amount of a combo of some other things to satisfy the craving.
    anyone else?? i’m getting alot better at being mindful though!

  37. Maria on October 7, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    I usually try to drink a cup of hot herbal tea in the middle of my day. That normally helps to quiet the snack monster. If not, I keep almonds at my desk or a fruit (banana or apple) with nut butter. That usually does the trick.

  38. Alex @ Kenzie Life on October 7, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    I think drinking more water is the best tip and the one I most often forget! I’m making a conscious effort to stay hydrated though, because I know that most times when I think I’m hungry, I’m really snacky, and when I’m snacky, I’m usually dehydrated. My remedy is to buy a cool water bottle that I like to use and then I’m more likely to refill it πŸ™‚

  39. Brittany on October 7, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    I love these tips!! I agree on the yoga thing. I’m much more in tune with my body’s needs when I’m practicing regularly.
    My favorite afternoon snack is a black iced coffee and lara bar. The bitter and sweet combo is oh so yum!
    Love your October nails!!
    -Brittany

  40. Sara @ LovingOnTheRun on October 8, 2013 at 12:00 am

    I think one of my go to snacking monster tamers is water! I am still working to get better at this and notice I still turn to snacking when I am emotional, but I will get there!

    I also try to keep healthy snacks around so that if I HAVE to snack I have a healthy alternative to go to!

  41. Shaina Anderson on October 8, 2013 at 12:41 am

    yoga! yes! The days that I practice, I’m so much more well behaved when it comes to food. I don’t even *want* the bad stuff.

  42. Kelly @ Femme Fitale on October 8, 2013 at 12:53 am

    Great post! Even though I am a snacking machine, I love all of these tips and use pretty much all of them to avoid “mindless snacking”. Because, you are right- there is a big difference.

    Drinking water is my #1 way to avoid eating everything that crosses my path. Also, if I am craving ice cream or sugary treats and really want to eat, I’ll have a flavoured chobani yogurt. It completely settles my sweet tooth!

  43. Lucie on October 8, 2013 at 2:34 am

    Drinking water helps so much! If my sugar craving hits, I love to drink herbal tea with chocolate flavor and sweetened it a bit with stevia. Totally does the trick.
    And Yoga is BEST to be mindful with eating!

  44. courtstar @ starsystemz on October 8, 2013 at 3:13 am

    Water helps me big time I notice when I drink water I usually don’t snack as I have to make it a point to eat a big breakfast so me having a snack attack is almost always out of boredom or sometimes after a huge workout. Great ideas, thank you for sharing! Lots of love C

  45. Kammmie @ Sensual Appeal on October 8, 2013 at 7:08 am

    I really like the point about saving the sweet for last during the day. This night be the one thing I don’t do and I do see that when I start my day sweet it usulu affects my whole day and I crave more sweets all day then. I will implement this tip from now on when possible. Thanks so much.

  46. Abi on October 8, 2013 at 7:42 am

    I try to do something else to distract myself when I start to mindlessly snack. It’s definitely something I’ve struggled with but I’m getting better at not doing it.

    Recently my favorite snack has been some greek yogurt mixed with cocoa powder and peanut butter and topped with a banana. it’s sooooo good, I think I could probably live off of just that.

  47. Erin @ The Almond Eater on October 8, 2013 at 7:58 am

    I agree with drinking enough water and packing healthy snacks. My favorites are granola bars and smoothies. That way, I’m not tempted to snack on the candy dish at work (though it still tempts me).

  48. Haley on October 8, 2013 at 8:17 am

    You are 100% right when you say that if you eat something really sweet for breakfast or lunch, the sweet tooth doesn’t stop all day, I am completely the same way. But these are really good tips, thanks for sharing!

  49. Kelly @ Kelly Runs for Food on October 8, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Great tips! I totally agree with with having a filling breakfast too. Breakfast completely sets the tone for the rest of my day! I always keep an apple or banana in my purse. I also have a mini fridge in my office so I’ll bring Greek yogurt to work with me.

  50. Julie @ Better Life with Burgers on October 8, 2013 at 10:09 am

    SUCH a great point about waiting until evening for sweets! I am a teacher, so during holidays a lot of kids offer me sweets in the mornings. If I eat one, I just know I’ll end up eating more throughout the day! I definitely want to try to be more conscious of that.

    Lately I’ve been trying to emphasize the nutrition quality of my snacks. If I want something sweet, I’ll eat it, but I make sure to have the healthy stuff first, much like you!

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