Responsible Snacking: A quick tip to help you avoid overindulging on your favorite treats

eating chocolate

Do you find that  you approach snacking with the best of intentions, committed to eating “just one,” “a little bit,” or “only a taste” only to realize -a few short minutes later- that you have consumed your daily caloric intake in the form of M&M’s (they get me every time)?

This short video explains why that happens and how sugar affects our brain:

So should we stop snacking?

Of course not! Snacking is important. It helps keep our metabolism boosted between meals and can reduce our urge to binge eat, actually reducing our overall caloric intake. While we should try to enjoy healthy snacks as much as possible…we still have to reward ourselves with the good stuff every once in a while.

How do we prevent over snacking?

The solution to this problem requires a little preparation and some self-control.

First you will need the following:

Now purchase your favorite snacks: M&M’s, Doritos, Chips, candy bars, etc… these often come in large multiple serving packages (a major contributing factor to the over snacking problem).

Sit down with your scale and snack bags and divide up the snack into managed portion sizes (I like to make my own 100 calorie packs).

IMPORTANT: DO NOT DO THIS WHEN YOU ARE HUNGRY. 

Example:

If we use Dark Chocolate Peanut M&M’s (my favorite):

The nutritional information tells us that:

Each serving is .25 cup (about 43 grams) and 210 Calories.

Using our scale we find that each M&M weighs about 2 grams meaning that there are approximately 21 M&M’s per serving (43 grams in a serving/2 grams per M&M).

To make our 100 calorie pack we need to figure out the how many calories are in each M&M:

210 Calories / 21 M&M’s = 10 Calories per M&M (WHAT?! But they’re so small)

Now add the appropriate number of M&M’s to our baggie:

100 Calories/10 Calories per M&M = 10 M&M’s (THAT’S IT?!)

The large 19.2 oz bag should yield about 27 individual 100-calorie packs.

Note: Typically the more unhealthy the snack, the smaller your 100 calorie packs will be.

How does this strategy help?

First this helps you to become conscious of the relationship between portion size and calories of your favorite ‘junk’ foods. This means that even if you’re in a situation where you come into contact with these foods and you don’t have the benefit of portion controlled sizes; you will still have an idea of how many calories you are taking in.

It also creates another barrier to binge eating by making you mindful of exactly what you are putting into your body. Every time you open another bag you know that it represents 100 calories.

Woman Eating Strawberry

Finally you should be a little discouraged by the small portion sizes that these foods produce. Hopefully this encourages you to search for new more plentiful and filling healthy alternatives.

Let this mantra serve as your guide when snacking:  Become aware, prepare, and always…snack responsibly.

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