3 Tips to Stop Mindless Eating

stephanieauthement Healthy Eating, Nutrition, The Basics

Do you find yourself mindlessly eating late at night or in the middle of the day? Do you reach for the cookies and chips when you are bored and at home? If this is you, these 3 tips will help you to stop mindlessly eating!

It’s 10 AM and that mid-morning hunger hits you with a BAM! You have a moment at work where you aren’t busy from the morning craziness and you say to yourself -“I am hungry! I need a snack before lunch in 2 hours!” What do you do? Do you go grab a snack or do you forget about food? For the majority of people, they will grab a snack or eat a small meal. Maybe you eat your lunch now at 9 or 10 AM and then go for a second lunch at noon. Yikes!

How do you tell fake hunger from actual hunger and what can you do to stop eating because you are bored? This article is going to give you some tips for knowing if you are actually hungry and ways to help you if you find yourself mindlessly eating food.

One of the number one things that my patients tell me that is difficult is riding in a car on a long road trip or on the ride home from work. You have nothing to do but sit in traffic and drive to your destination. So you convince yourself that you are really hungry and start picturing every single thing you could possibly eat at home or any stop along the way.

Think about it like this: If you were driving to your house after you got off at 5 o’clock, would you eat something on your way home, snack while waiting on dinner, and then immediately eat dinner when you were done cooking because you think you are still hungry? Maybe you pulled into a fast food restaurant! Here are some tips if that is the case!

Tip #1 – Have a healthy snack in your purse or in your vehicle that you can easily grab and eat. This will stop you from munching on candy or other items while you wait in traffic or drive a long distance. If you’re wondering what a healthy snack looks like – click here – for my article on Healthy Snacking! This can be things like a handful of almonds or a granola bar. It can also be things like an apple or orange. This gives you time to have something in  your stomach before you get home. If it is a single item, you can’t continue mindlessly eating because you have nothing left to snack on!

If you are watching TV or playing on your phone at home, you’re more likely to mindlessly eat and not because you are actually hungry. This is particularly true when you have large bags or containers of snacks such as chips, buttered popcorn, or a family sized bag of cookies. You could eat the entire thing in one sitting if you don’t pay attention!

Tip #2 – If you are going to eat something while watching TV or playing on your phone, a bag of grapes or some fresh fruit is a much better idea. These are high in fiber and will keep you fuller longer than other snacks. If you want chips – choose the baked ones that are already pre-packaged so you don’t eat the entire bag. Once you finish your small bag, you know that you ate your portion!

When it’s after 8 or 9 PM, do you find yourself eating more food while lying down in bed or sitting on the sofa? Late night snacking is the culprit of a lot of individuals problems with mindlessly eating out of boredom!

Tip #3 – Eat more vegetables with your dinner or snack on some vegetables late at night. Vegetables, like fruit, are high in fiber and can help keep you full! So this can be done by adding a side salad to your meal or steaming/roasting some vegetables and serving it with your meal. If you are snacking on vegetables, you want to use no dipping sauce or a fat free version and still use as little as you need to.

Here is the best advice I can give you: If you are hungry, your body is going to continue to remind you of how hungry you are. Wait 30 minutes if you are at work/home and have the thought that “I’m hungry – I could use a snack.” If within that 30 minutes all you can think about is food, you’re really hungry. If you have actually been really hungry before, you should know this feeling.

If you come back to the pantry and look at the food and think “I’m kinda hungry, but I don’t know what I want to eat. I guess I’ll grab this.” You’re probably just bored and eating is something that will fill the void of being bored. Find a fun hobby that makes you happy and you’ll find yourself eating less!

What are some things that have helped you stop mindlessly eating food? Comment below!