Are you a constant snacker? Many of us eat more than we intend to through mindless snacking, whether it’s brought about by stress, boredom, cravings, or something else. And if you’re trying to lose weight, the urge to snack can be a major obstacle.

The good news is, you can get a handle on the snacking with some tried-and-true behavior modification strategies. Try these tips for getting your snacking habit under control.

  1. Identify triggers. Keep a food journal and try to determine what it is that’s driving you to snack. Are you bored at work? Are you feeling stressed? Or are you genuinely hungry? See if any patterns emerge. If you find that you’re eating out of stress, look for other ways to cope with stressful situations. Or, see if you can take steps to eliminate or reduce the source of stress. For example, if your boss is creating stress but you otherwise like your job, see if you can transfer to a different department.
  2. Clarify your health goals. Are you trying to lose weight? Increase your energy? Write your goals down, and be specific. Think about how you’ll feel when you’ve achieved them. Then, create reminders that will help you stay on track. Try putting a photo on your desk of yourself when you were at your ideal weight. Look at it whenever you’re attempted to snack, and ask yourself if your decisions are moving you closer to or further away from your goals.
  3. Buy healthy snacks. Keep your desk stocked with low-calorie snacks such as nuts and raisins. Bring some grapes or carrot sticks to work with you. Then, when you’re tempted to hit the vending machine, you’ll have healthier alternatives available.
  4. Drink lots of water. Sometimes thirst masquerades as hunger. If you get the urge to snack, drink a big glass of water. Even better — squeeze in half a lemon, which will help fight hunger cravings. Wait 15 minutes and then ask yourself if you’re still hungry. Most of the time, the urge will go away.
  5. Don’t let yourself get too hungry. If you’re always snacking between meals, be preemptive and eat healthy snacks every few hours. A high-protein snack like apple slices with almond butter will help keep you feeling full longer.
  6. Get an accountability partner. Find a family member, friend, or coworker who has similar health goals — someone you see on a regular basis — and agree to hold each other accountable. Sometimes it’s easier to stick to goals if we know that someone else is paying attention — especially if you’re someone who is motivated by external expectations.
  7. Brush your teeth after eating. Most people don’t like to eat soon after brushing their teeth. Keep a toothbrush and toothpaste in your desk drawer and brush your teeth several times a day.
  8. Keep emergency food with you. When you go out, stash a protein bar or a piece of fruit in your purse or backpack.
  9. Keep yourself busy. If you’re bored, or engaged in mindless activities like watching TV, you may be more likely to snack without even realizing it. Do something that keeps your hands occupied — take up knitting or painting, or tackle that list of things you’ve been meaning to do around the house.
  10. Understand it may be genetic. Some people are genetically predisposed to be more hungry. People with a certain variant in a receptor for leptin — a hormone that helps inhibit hunger — are more likely to demonstrate a greater tendency for snacking. While there may not be anything you can do about your genes, knowing if you’re susceptible to these types of behaviors can help you adopt strategies to help curtail the negative effects of snacking.

Find out if you’re genetically predisposed to snacking, overeating, having a sweet tooth, regaining weight, and other factors that can influence your weight. Vivaliti DNA offers personalized genetic blueprints that provide you with your ideal diet type, eating behaviors, certain food reactions, and nutritional needs. Knowing how your DNA influences your health and your weight can help you devise a diet and fitness plan that really works — because it’s created just for you. Request a free consultation with a Vivaliti DNA health coach today to learn more!