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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can I control my snacking habit?

    I find myself constantly snacking when I am sitting in front of the TV or in front of the computer at work. How can I control this problem?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1

    Thanks

    Christina Turner

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    Christina is the Owner of SOL north coast nutrition - a nutrition and dietary service with clinics across the north coast of NSW.Christina's interest in … View Profile

    Firstly, try to determine if you are genuinely hungry or not.

    Genuine Physical hunger is often when you get the feeling in your stomach, your tummy rumbles and it's likely you haven't eaten for at least 3-4 hours.

    Emotional hunger is when “you think you are hungry”, you usually fixate on a certain food such as “i really fancy a ….”

    If it is genuine hunger then try to plan ahead. Buy in healthy snacks such as fresh fruit, a small handul of nuts or popcorn you have popped yourself.

    If it is emotional hunger or a habit, then it's a good time to practice the art of distraction. Grab a hot drink, sip it slowly and give your brain a chance to say no to food. Consider you might be bored and take a break. Get up and do something different.

  • 1

    Thanks

    Lyn Craven

    Bowen Therapist, Naturopath, Nutritionist, Western Herbal Medicine Practitioner

    I specialise in gastrointestinal health problems, (leaky gut syndrome, allergies, bloating, candida, IBS, constipation, dysbiosis, reflux), women's health, back/neck pain, RSI, carpel tunnel syndrome, rotating/tilting … View Profile

    What works for one may not for another.  Psychologically you need to look at why you snack, is it for emotional comfort, when you are stressed/anxious etc.  Take something away from someone (chocolate) you must give something back (fruit).  If you keep feeling hungry and this is cause of snacking you may not be eating sufficient during the meals you have or you have a mineral deficiency that is not being full filled by your foods you eat/mal absorption re your gut function.  These all need to be assessed. See a professional naturopath.

  • Chris Fonda

    Dietitian, Nutritionist, Sports Dietitian

    As an Accredited Sports Dietitian, APD and athlete (springboard diver), Chris has both professional and personal experience in sport at the sub-elite and elite level.Chris … View Profile

    To add to Christina's response earlier, to avoid snacking on unhealthy foods make sure you have a decent breakfast every morning. This sets up your bodies metabolism to burn high throughout the day. It will also help to keep you from snacking on high fat/ salt/ kilojoule snacks late in the afternoon. Another tip is to try and keep your meals consistant. Try to eat every 2-3 hours if you can, small meals and snacks are fine. This will help to keep your blood sugar levels consistant and will keep those high energy/ fat snacks at bay.

    Remember that not everyone requires the 5-6 meals per day requirement. Some may be able to only handle 3 square meals per day. As long as each meal is nutritionally adequate there is nothing wrong with either method. For more expert advice, talk to your local Accredited Practising Dietitan (APD), find one at www.daa.asn.au :)

  • Dr Richard Wong

    Personal Trainer

    Qualified with a B: Human Movement Science and Certificate. I grew up with sport. I competed succesfully at a state and national level as a … View Profile

    The fastest way to help you to stop you from snacking would be to think of something you can do instead of looking in the fridge. Go for a walk, read a book, make a phone call. Then empty your house of anything that will not help you achieve your goal. for example, if you want to lose weight, then empty the cupboards of chocolate, chips, biscuits or any other processed, sugary foods. More importantly now you must look at why you are snacking. is it boredom, or habit? now look at setting a strong goal that is achievable but a stretch so you have to work for it. and then find someone to help you establish a correct nutrition plan so you know what you can have on a daily basis. a  good nutrition plan should include the rigth amount of carbs, fats and proteins, eating a regular intervals. therefore you will never feel hungry and you wil always know what you are eating next.

  • Julie Markoska

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    I am a Sydney based Accredited Nutritionist and Accredited Practising Dietitian recognised by the Dietitians Association of Australia.I have a Bachelor of Science majoring in … View Profile

    You might like to try ‘mindful eating’. Eating mindfully means being in the present moment and really enjoying your food, paying attention to your food and not multi-tasking ie watching TV while eating etc. It's also about being in touch with your body, listening to your body and eating in response to physical hunger and finding ways to deal with ‘head hunger’. Ask yourself ‘why am I eating this?’ ‘Am I hungry?’ You might be eating to relieve stress, help you relax etc

    You read more about mindful eating here: http://amihungry.com/mindful-eating.shtml

    If you are in Melbourne you might want to try this program: http://www.swinburne.edu.au/lss/psychology/pc/mindful-eating-group.html

    Good luck!

    Julie Markoska
    Accredited Practising Dietiian & Nutritionist
    http://www.juliemarkoska.com.au/

  • Arlene is a registered practising dietitian, with a private practice in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, and has built a strong business over the last … View Profile

    When you want to eat make sure you think before you put anything in your mouth. So make a habit of putting food on a plate and sitting down to eat. You must never stand up and walk around when you eat.  You must always be relaxed when you eat so you can savour your food and eat slowly – otherwise you gobble your food and you don’t realize you are eating. By doing all these steps you will put some thought into what you are eating. In addition scale your hunger – do you want to consume that snack because you are hungry in your stomach or because you are hungry in your head. If you are hungry in your heat and just feel like eating because the food is there then go and do something else to distract yourself. If you feel stressed than find another way to deal with that emotion apart from eating. Only eat when your stomach is grumbling!
     Get rid of unhealthy snacks. If they're available easily, you'll always reach for them first. Keep cut up vegetables & fruits in ready-to-eat sizes in the fridge so they are handy to grab when you get the munchies.

    Find something to distract yourself from the need to snack. Snacking as a habit needs to be broken by replacing the habit with something else that is beneficial for your body. So for example, if you feel the urge to snack, play a game with yourself and see how long you can go before you give in…compete with yourself to see if you can make it for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 20, 1 hour, all the way to the next meal, etc. Or maybe try to drink a few sips of water each time you feel the urge to snack. Or try chewing sugar-free gum. Peppermint is an appetite suppressant, so if you are not allergic to peppermint, then that would probably be the best chewing gum flavour to get.

    Consult a  dietician for advice about how many calories you need for your particular activity level. If you aren't getting enough calories for your activity level, then your body will experience more intense cravings for snacks between meals, and it will also actually be more difficult to lose weight (metabolism slows down when we aren't eating enough calories, hence why skipping meals is counter-productive to any good weight loss program).
     

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