How to avoid unnecessary snacking

Published March 22, 2014

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Your sleep patterns, diet and lifestyle all have just as much of an effect on the 3pm sugar craving as your ability to make a healthy choice when it comes to finding something to nibble on.

Some of the main reasons for snacking have very little to do with the actual need for energy or sustenance. Many people will snack simply when they are stressed, sad, celebrating, bored, or simply procrastinating. In these cases, often all you need to do is recognize the reasons behind the snacking and address the cause. Most of the time, if you change your circumstance, you’ll realise you don’t need those biscuits after all.

Another reason behind unnecessary snacking is insufficiencies in other areas of the diet. If for example, a meal at breakfast offers empty calories such as some sugary cereals, you might be more likely to indulge in a mid-morning snack as the body craves nutrients. A study released in March 2013 showed how a breakfast high in protein (around 35 grams) could help avoid snacking later on in the day.1

Not getting enough sleep can also be a culprit behind excessive snacking. If you’re lacking sleep and need an energy lift, it can be easy to reach for high-calorie foods for a sugar rush. If this is often the case, it may be worth looking for ways to improve your night time rituals to help avoid snacking.

However, snacking doesn’t always have to be detrimental for health. Choosing snacks high in vitamins and minerals can stop you picking up unhealthy choices and aid your diet and health goals. A study released in October 2013 found that eating about 40 grams of almonds on a daily basis improved vitamin E and monounsaturated fat – as well as reducing hunger for unhealthy options2, so why not experiment by adding them to your diet.

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