In our last post, we talked about customizing our kitchens for a new healthy lifestyle. The nice thing about these tips is that you aren’t going overboard. You are just making a few simple changes that will pay off in the long run. Today, we are going to look at the problem behavior of snacking.
Snacking can really derail your weight loss and so many people snack so mindlessly that it can really get out of hand. I like these strategies because they are SO clever. You don’t try to stop snacking, because that’s never going to work. Instead, it focuses on making the good habits easy and the bad habits hard.
These are things that many naturally skinny people do without thinking about them. Eating an entire bag of chips or a whole sleeve of cookies just isn’t something that would occur to them. Remember if you want to BE skinny, you need to DO what the skinny people do!
Great Tips to Manage Your Snacking
- If you are worried about being tempted by the snacks your kids prefer, there’s an easy fix for that. Just set up a special snack cupboard for the kiddies that is OFF-LIMITS to Mom. You can even put a sign on it. It might make it easier for you in general because it makes it more of a self-serve option for them. Be sure and include some healthy options for them as well – apple chips are nice, cheese and crackers, or cut up veggies or squares of cheese or turkey.
- If you are prone to overindulging in a snack – treat yourself like a child. Set reasonable and visible limits. Take a bright yellow post-it note and a sharpie and write right on the package – serving size = 2 cookies. It’s a silly little trick, but surprisingly you will tend to obey the rule without thinking much about it.
- Once food leaves the kitchen, it almost always gets eaten – every bite of it. Even if it’s a huge bag of chips or cookies. I know it’s more expensive, but the single-serve portions are your friends! Pringles has these cute little snack-sized cups that are adorable and give a very reasonable and satisfying portion, but if you take the whole foot-high can to the den, it is guaranteed to be gone by the end of your show.
- Less variety is a good thing. Do you know, you will eat fewer M&M’s if there are 5 colors than if there are 7 colors? That is one of the experiments Brian did in his first book and it’s absolutely a fact. So, how can you use that to your advantage? You do the shopping, so narrow your snacking choices. Buy only one favorite brand of cookies or chips instead of several. Bake only 3 styles of cookies at Christmas instead of 6?
- If you have a food you know is an absolute red light food for you – chocolate for most people. Many people simply can’t leave it alone. Either leave it off your grocery list, or put it in a very inconvenient place. If you have to get down on your hands and knees to get into the most inconvenient cupboard for it, maybe you really need some chocolate. Also try the labeling trick – 2 pieces equals one serving and you have to go back and get on your knees again for a second serving.
- Plan for snacking. It’s not realistic to expect that you are never going to eat a snack again, or that you’re only going to eat rice cakes or cut veggies when you’re genuinely hungry. Add snacks to your grocery list, but try to keep them mostly healthy. Even if you only make good choices 50% of the time, that’s probably more good snacking choices than you are making now.
- Bonus tip – Everything you are doing here, you will want to do with your “snack stash” at work. It is important to have your own stash of snacks to keep you away from the every-present candy machine at work, but make sure they are portioned correctly, are somewhat in the healthy category, and aren’t in plain view. Definitely lose the candy dish and keep all food locked up in a drawer.
Most of these ideas came from a book by a brilliant behavioral scientist called Brian Wansink. He has written several books, but these are my favorites:
Here’s a link to an earlier post I did on his previous book Mindless Eating. Again, it has tons of ideas for how to easily change your eating habits for the better and how to get your family on the healthy eating bandwagon too, without ANY whining and fussing from your kids OR your husband!
Here are the other posts coming up in the series (I’ll add links once they are published.)
#1 – Beat the Buffet – Posted Jan 1st
#2 – Skinny Size Your Kitchen – Posted Jan 2nd
#3 – Snack Proof Your House – Today
#4 – Outsmart the Grocery Store – coming Jan 4th
#5 – Revamp the School Cafeteria – coming Jan 5th
Other posts you may enjoy: