You’ll find that I talk about controlling cravings and bad snacking on this blog quite a bit. And that is pretty much because I think anyone who has ever attempted to work on portion control and living a healthy lifestyle has probably struggled here…myself very much included! This may not be the trendiest way to cut cravings and stop snacking, but I’ll tell you what…it works!
If I didn’t pay attention, I’d graze my way through the day with little 100 calorie bites here, 200 calorie cookies there, 300 calorie coffees here because “I need a pic me up,” bites while I’m cooking (I mean, I’ve got to know how good dinner tastes good BEFORE I eat the entire meal).Then before I’d know it, I’d have chowed down two times the amount of food I’d actually need to consume in a day. And the worst part? I probably wouldn’t even have noticed I was doing it. What a waste, right?
I have a pretty good summary post here which includes a few tricks for managing cravings and just last week I talked about my favorite, simple, healthy snack you could grab-and-go to help combat bad snacking. But sometimes…not even having a healthy snack on hand can combat our afternoon or late evening sugar cravings because it’s not a hunger issue. Why in the heck are we eating if we’re not even hungry?
The top 3 reasons why we mindlessly snack even when we’re not hungry.
Now, these might not be groundbreaking concepts here, but it’s still worth addressing three of the top reasons we go in search of a snack even when our body is like…”nope, I don’t really need more food…I just WANT it!” Knowledge is power and awareness is the first stage of change.
1. We want something sweet
It’s 1:15 pm and that after lunch craving for something sweet hits. This craving is relentless and highjacks your mind until the craving has been met with a cookie (or five), a piece of cake (any retirement parties going on today?), or ice cream. And sugar is wildly addictive, so the more you eat, the more you want and that is a fact.
2. We’re bored
The clock hits 3:30 pm and you have an hour left until it’s time to head home from work. The most important work is done for the day, and you’re left with some odds and ends that are rather mind numbing. Your mind now shifts to the doughnuts and chips in the break room, and how just a handful of salty goodness would make your day so much better.
3. Snacking is a habit
Now it’s 7:00 pm and your favorite show is on. Without thinking you grab that mint chocolate chip ice cream from the freezer (forget the bowl, I’ll just eat out of the carton – fewer dirty dishes, right?) and dig in. Before you know it, your favorite character just broke up with her boyfriend and your ice cream is gone.
One Simple trick to combat mindless snacking
Fighting back against mindless snacking is easier and cheaper than you think. It also doesn’t involve eating copious amount of carrots and celery, or hiring a hypnotist to break the snacking spell. It’s actually as simple as being aware and being prepared. I always keep Orbit Gum on hand when I’m on the go and at home to combat the unnecessary urge to indulge.
While chewing gum isn’t the hippest of “healthy trends” these days, I’m mentioning it here because it really is a simple, tactical solution to battle cravings. Carry gum with you in your purse for when you’re late afternoon cravings kick in and a package in your pantry for those late night munchies. See that little stash of Orbitz gum over there. That has saved me hundreds of calories when I go looking to graze.
Chewing gum can work for a few reasons. One perk is that’s flavorful and sweet. Orbitz sugar-free gum has only 5-10 calories per serving, and with flavors such as Spearmint, Peppermint, Wintermint, Bubblemint, Strawberry, Citrus, Sweet Mint and Orbit White, you are bound to kick that sugar craving without a second thought.
The second is purely logistical. I mean…when you have gum in your mouth, you physically can’t put anything else in there. It’s not like the normal snack that if you have one, you want another and you sit and watch the calories add up. Nope. Just one piece of gum and it can last you quite some time and serve as the perfect barrier to any other potential unnecessary craving or mindless snack.
What is your favorite way to combat sugar cravings?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.