Your stomach isn’t growling, but your mind seems to think it is…

You may do your very best to eat well and exercise, yet you can’t seem to kick that snack habit of yours. What’s worse is that it seems to be the one thing standing in your way to becoming your best self.

First things first... Start by asking yourself, “Am I really hungry?" The bottom line is that for many, snacking is a mindless habit linked to so many triggers — with hunger ranking very low on the list.

For some, no habit is stronger than snacking. So how can we begin to break down these habits? The key is to be more mindful. Take note of the the cues and triggers that lead you into that mindless munching black hole. By identifying the underlying reasons why you’re snacking, you can start to break your habit and replace it with healthier alternatives.

Here are some reasons, other than hunger, that are probably leading you to the snack bowl.

Reason #1: You’re stuck in a routine

Like clockwork, you run to the break room just to check out what snack options are available. By this point, your body might be able to tell you what time it is without even looking at a clock. Identify that trigger. Maybe it’s not the cookie you really want, but the social time that comes with it.

If this sounds like you, try taking a 5 minute break and catch-up with a coworker (or your Instagram feed) when you feel a craving coming on.

Reason #2: You deprive yourself during mealtimes

You went with a salad for lunch that left you unsatisfied. Why? You might not have picked the best salad toppings and by going with that high-sugar, low-fat dressing and little protein, you’re leaving your appetite to run wild throughout the day. This may leave you finding it hard to resist a sugary temptation later.

The fix? Nourish yourself during lunch. Make sure your meals sustain you with the power of lean plant-based proteins and healthy fats (yes, fat). Once lunch is done, enjoy focusing on your work, not planning out your next snack move.

Reason #3: You’re stressed out or sad

Without even realizing it, you may be seeking out food as a source of comfort in sad or stressful situations. Why? Because it works… at least temporarily. Comfort food didn’t get its name for nothing. But the problem is that emotional eating only makes it worse. Eating makes you feel better (and when you’re really hungry, it should!), but it can quickly fill you with regret if you made an unhealthy choice you’ve been working so hard to avoid.

This one’s difficult, but try your best to fill up this emotional space with something other than food. Experiment with different strategies like meditation (or maybe even take up the adult coloring book trend) to get you through your emotions with mindfulness, not food.

Reason #4: You’re procrastinating

You have an assignment to complete or a chore to finish, but polishing off a bowl of chips seems a lot easier (and tastier) than addressing the tasks at hand. So you start snacking and telling yourself, “Once I’m done, I’ll get started.” The problem is that when that bowl is done, you still have work to do and you regret eating the food your body hadn’t needed in the first place.

Start by turning this habit on its head. Instead of reaching for something before you start your task, allow yourself to do so after. Once it’s done, maybe you’ll notice you don’t really want it anymore.

Reason #5: You just have a craving for something

You still just want a little something. You waited it out, you know you’re not really hungry, but you still want something.

Then maybe it’s okay to give in! Instead of your normal habit of munching on chips or candy, try replacing your go-to with a cup of warm, comforting tea or lemon water. You might find it’s just the little “something” you needed.

In case of a pinch...

Give yourself a back-up plan by having healthy options on hand when you really need to nibble. Cut up fresh veggies or pop a batch of homemade popcorn the night before work to take with you on the go. This tasty treat, lightly seasoned with salt and nutritional yeast, is a perfect way to combat the munchies when you’re out and about.  The best plan though? Making sure you're eating filling, healthy meals ready to go quickly and easily.

Interested in trying our pre-portioned, plant-based meals? Get started with a weekly delivery so you're always prepared for busy moments.

Questions? Email us at hello@splendidspoon.com