How not to snack?

I am currently at university, and although I do spend a lot of time either in lectures or reading, that also means that I spend a lot of time back in my flat, which leads to me snacking on things. I know that snacking is not the best so I am trying to drink more water to stop myself eating, but does anyone have any advice on anything that is healthier to snack on?

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  • Clementines are great only 35cals each, I have no added sugar jelly pots about if I fancy something sweet only 22cals each. Belvita biscuits, or something like celery, cucumber or pepper slices to nibble on. I used to snack especially when bored or stressed its just finding things u like that you can snack on that wont blow your calories

  • That's really helpful, thank you!

  • If you can get them Ryvita make a cracker (not a crispbread) with cracked pepper that is really crispy and tasty only 27 caloriee! I love them and spread it with a little cheese sprear Laughing Cow Light, half a triangle is about 12cals from memory .......and a slice of tomato or gherkin...

  • For me, if I literally can’t stop snacking, I try brushing my teeth. Who wants to eat another sweet with the taste of mint on his or her tongue? Maybe sometimes you're not really hungry, you're just bored. An apple and skim milk is a healthy snack that can also aid in weight loss. You can also try other fruits for variations. And if you find that you’re having a serious issue with self control, then don’t keep snacks in the house. All the best.

  • I don't find snacking helpful (I know it works for some people) So if I am finding myself doing it, I look at my meals and why they are not sustaining me. One strategy I use is that if I am feeling really peckish, I'll use the strategies above - drinking water, cleaning my teeth - plus 'postponing' ie "I'll have something to eat when I've done X" If none of that works, I have my next meal then rather than a snack and then a meal a bit later.

  • Fresh dates are great, taste like lollies, but they're fruit. Dried prunes, sultanas, apricots.

    I have a rule that I can eat whatever I like, as long as I cook it myself from scratch so if I want a biscuit, I have to make them first. Puts me off doing it, although, sometimes I do whip up a batch of scones and scoff the lot in a few days so that idea doesn't always work!

  • Hi sara010796,

    Actually, I think snacking is really important for your weight loss regime. But, it does have to be sensible, healthy snacks and you do have to use snacking in the right way.

    Really, it's probably more about getting into a sensible routine / regime about your eating. I used a meal-snack-meal-snack-meal-snack one. Basically three meals with small healthy nutritious snacks in between to tide me over to the next meal. I'd suggest that you shouldn't go for more than about four hours without any food.

    However, the reality of life is that you have to find a regime that works for you and your life activities and commitments. But getting into some sort of structure about your eating - like other aspects of changing your eating habits - can really help. In fact, I think it becomes pretty difficult to change your eating habits, take control of your eating, and manage your food intake unless there is at least some structure to it all.

    Of course, you do have to fit in with so many other people and things in life, from what time lectures are, to what time the train runs, when XYZ shop or office is open, or how long the washing machine cycle takes before you can get at the clothes you put in it and iron them, etc., etc.

    And I suspect that structuring your 'free' time in your flat, might well help you get control of you rogue snacking.

    Lately, there have been several low calorie savoury biscuits come onto the market. With a sensible topping e.g. like a 'light soft cheese', a slice of tomato, and perhaps a bit of pepper, a tide you over snack like that will probably only come out at about 50 or 60 kcals. A banana probably comes in about 80 to 90 kcals depending on size.

    Also, remember, use the pepper and chilli flakes and the like to give it a bit of bite. Spice is the friend of the dieter. Try to spice things up for flavour and to prevent gastronomic boredom, rather than sweeten or fatten (or make more creamy) things up.

    The more you do that the more your tastes will change and that will help you lose your taste for sweeter / fatty / creamy foods. You can use things like a little grated dark chocolate and fat-free yoghurt to top fresh fruit such as raspberries / blueberries, etc., and only add a few calories to it.

  • At the risk of being contentious, I don't understand the statement 'I spend a lot of time in my flat, which leads me to snacking on things'.

    Why does one thing lead to the other? I might as well say 'I am retired so I spend a lot of time at home, but that does not lead me to snacking'.

    For busy active people, the usual advice of three meals a day interspersed with snacks, may be OK because you have a chance of burning it off. There have been times in my life when I was on my feet for hours at a time, walking to buses, cycling, running up and down a hospital ward all day. I'm much, much less active now! A person who is indoors a lot of the time reading for a degree will not be so active so I can't see how she would need all those meals and snacks.

    We usually have a good breakfast and then, a meal much later in the afternoon. We're just not hungry. I certainly don't want anything else to eat for the rest of the day.

    I find it essential to have a protein-based breakfast, an egg maybe, or a couple of slices of grilled bacon.

    Just saw a quote this morning on FB, 'we no longer eat food, we eat food-like products'. Exactly.

  • I think we can get used to just chewing - I certainly do. So it's not just not hunger, it's also familiarity. I agree with the idea of brushing your teeth. It is an immediate turnoff in terms of eating - and it keeps your teeth in brilliant condition.

    I am also studying and therefore, spending a lot of time not moving much. This is a contrast to my previous life - so I can feel the difference. I have bought a pedometer - fitbit - which does encourage me to just move - if only to try and improve my step rate. Otherwise, I have taken to preparing three things before I start at the computer - a tub of carrot sticks (4 or 5 carrots), a tub of apple wedges (two apples with a squeeze of lemon or lime and a drop of water to keep them from going brown) and a thermal container of coffee (a travel cup). I haven't usually eaten breakfast as I have brushed my teeth and it doesn't appeal but when I start to want to graze/eat then the stuff it there, on the desk and ready. The coffee tends to be refreshed but the carrots and apple tend not to be. I also pack these to take with me when I set out in the car - it just gives me the option of chewing on something. The other thing that I like are the packs of popcorn the you can get from Sainsbury's in packages of six - at about 50 calories a bag - a decent bowlful and it three flavours. Underlying all of the suggestions that people have made it the necessity to prepare - after all, you know where you'll be and you have the control. Now, back to my carrots and keyboard.

  • It depends on when you snack. The suggestions above will definately work when you are working or reading. If you are snacking when sitting watching tv or similar it may be worth trying to find something to do with your hands. I do different handicrafts but something like crosswords, drawing or silly games on your phone will keep your hands busy so you are not able to snack, and keep your mind occupied so you don't think about food. I have found that as the plan went on I got to a point that I normally don't want snacks now. We even had biscuits at a meeting last week and I found I did not actually want any as I was not hungry! (Not quite so easy when there is homemade cake on offer!)

  • If you snack because you are hungry rice cakes with low fat hummus are nice. If you snack because you are bored then chewing gum may help.

  • I have the same issue although you can have alternative healthy snacks sometimes you just want the bad stuff. I have stopped having snacks in the house to avoid the temptation, because if they are there ill just eat them. Good luck

  • Rather than snacking have you tried distracting yourself. Eat proper meals so you're getting enough from them to get through to your next meal then you shouldn't need to snack. That way when you get the urge, i'm assuming it's either habit or boredom that leads you to snack, you know you're not hungry and you can go and do something until the urge passes. When I was at uni I piled weight on, it's good that you've recognised it's a problem but you really need to identify what leads to the snacking, for me it was when I put a dvd on, it became a habit to start snacking on sweets and biscuits or other unhealthy options. If you're studying and that leads to snacking could you go to the library? If you don't take food then you've got nothing to snack on and so the problem is avoided. If you are snacking because you are genuinely hungry then you need more protein in your meals and try drinking water.

    You may have more than one trigger for snacking, identify what you can and find ways to avoid them. Not all triggers are avoidable, if you're in a really boring lecture and your friend has sweets it is really hard to say no, especially when everyone else is having them. But you can always exercise afterwards (or even before) and work off some of those calories.

    You need to find what works for you, if the first thing you try doesn't work, that's alright just try something new. And if you really cannot avoid snacking there are some very tasty suggestions above.

    Good luck,

    Kate

  • Rather than snacking have you tried distracting yourself. Eat proper meals so you're getting enough from them to get through to your next meal then you shouldn't need to snack. That way when you get the urge, i'm assuming it's either habit or boredom that leads you to snack, you know you're not hungry and you can go and do something until the urge passes. When I was at uni I piled weight on, it's good that you've recognised it's a problem but you really need to identify what leads to the snacking, for me it was when I put a dvd on, it became a habit to start snacking on sweets and biscuits or other unhealthy options. If you're studying and that leads to snacking could you go to the library? If you don't take food then you've got nothing to snack on and so the problem is avoided. If you are snacking because you are genuinely hungry then you need more protein in your meals and try drinking water.

    You may have more than one trigger for snacking, identify what you can and find ways to avoid them. Not all triggers are avoidable, if you're in a really boring lecture and your friend has sweets it is really hard to say no, especially when everyone else is having them. But you can always exercise afterwards (or even before) and work off some of those calories.

    You need to find what works for you, if the first thing you try doesn't work, that's alright just try something new. And if you really cannot avoid snacking there are some very tasty suggestions above.

    Good luck,

    Kate

  • Food is a funny thing and people have all sorts of reasons for eating it, not just for nutrition. People might eat because they feel they 'ought to' - it's their duty, it's the right thing to do, e.g. they clear their plate even though they're not hungry.

    Many people eat to distract themselves from anxieties or boredom - comfort / boredom eating can often be avoided by looking at the environmental / situational 'cues' that click you into stretching for the biscuits / crisps / chocolate or whatever and 'managing' those cues and responses.

    Many people eat to perk themselves up when flagging, e.g. the cup of tea or coffee with a / some biscuit(s) / cake(s).

    It's easy to think of weight loss as just about calories, fats and sugars or even just about portion control or eating regimes, but for some the changing of their eating habits is more like changing / re-thinking your relationship with food.

    Perhaps, if you eat for comfort or out of boredom, you could start by just asking yourself questions. such as these.

    Aren't there any other sources of comfort or activities that I could use instead of resorting to eating in these situations? What are these sources of comfort or these alternative activities? How would I substitute these for the eating I currently do at these times?

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