Do you struggle with snacking when bored? In this article, I’ll show you how to tackle that, and help you prevent those 5:00 munchies!
Somewhere the clock strikes 5… And a hard worker has just arrived home. Feeling famished from the long day, they couldn’t help but spend the drive pondering what they’d have for dinner. After all, they skipped breakfast… and although they had a few snacks here and there, lunch wasn’t too satisfying either – a caesar salad – a seemingly healthy option, but lacking taste – it didn’t quite hit the spot. It’s been several hours since they last ate a substantial meal – their stomach is rumbling, a headache is forming, they’re feeling irritable, sluggish and decidedly hangry. After getting the mail and letting the dog out, they discover an empty fridge – time for grocery shopping AGAIN? The only option is a frozen chicken breast, will take a full hour to de-thaw and cook. Not a chance. A bag of Munchie Mix opens, and it’s over from there… let the munchies begin.
Could this be you?
It has been me, and it certainly has happened to just about all of us at some point or another.
The root of the issue? “Failing to plan is preparing to fail.”
This most often comes down to: what you’ve eaten prior to that point (or lack thereof), convenience (dinner takes too long to make) or distraction (bored, tired, or looking to fix a vice).
How do you prevent this from happening?
Here’s a 3-step plan to stop mindless snacking:
1. It starts with awareness. Become aware of where, when and why snacking begins. Is it every day at a particular time? When you’re feeling a certain way? Because you haven’t eaten in several hours and have nothing ready in the fridge? Sit down with a notebook and list the reasons why. Once you’ve identified the issue(s), it’s time to think up solutions.
2. Based on the above answer, decide on a plan. Eat enough earlier on. Prepare dinner ahead of time. Have a healthy, pre-made snack on hand, such as veggies and hummus or a pre-made salad as an appetizer while you prepare dinner. Better yet, prepare dinner ahead of time so that it’s ready when you arrive home. Distract yourself by walking the dog, calling a friend or doing something that will occupy you while you wait for dinner to cook.
3. Implement your plan and track its effectiveness (aka, journaling!). I realize we all hear “journal, journal, journal” over and over again, but we can’t deny its importance. Not only does it help us become more aware of what we’re eating, but it also bring us into tune with why we’re eating – and how we’re feeling. Jotting down the full scenario of what, when and why you’re snacking (or choosing not to) connects your eating habits to emotion, stress, timing and location, which ultimately brings you to your best solution to nix evening snacking.
This has worked for my clients, myself and thousands of others.
Is evening snacking something you struggle with? Do you have any tips for others that have worked for you? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or share them in the comments below!
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