It can be hard to turn down those tasty treats but here are a couple of tips to help move your snacking habits in the right direction:
1) Get Rid of Your Food 'Kryptonite'.
We all have it. That one food that turns us into the Cookie Monster. That one food we just can't turn down because it's our favorite or it just tastes sooo good. You buy it because you love it but ultimately you end up eating the whole bag or box on your own because you just can't help yourself. Sure you might say things like "It's for when the kids come over" or "We have guests this weekend." but the majority of that tasty treat will never see your intended guests.
So get rid of it. Take it out of the house and leave it there. I am not saying that this food is forbidden. In fact I encourage you to still eat it but make it an outside of the house treat. The more doors you put between you and it the more time you will have to really think before you grab that snack. Still plan to enjoy it on occasion but make it a planned treat. Rather than getting the big bag of your favorite chips for the house try walking to the store and get the personal sized bag as a treat once in a while. Instead of the container of ice cream for the freezer enjoy a sundae at the shop when you are out with the kids. Or maybe you let yourself get that piece of pie or cake for dessert when you go out for dinner. These things might cost a little bit more than buying in bulk but if you are eating them less often there shouldn't be much of a difference in overall cost.
Treating yourself if perfectly okay but if you are feeling out of control with a certain snack this can be a great way to still enjoy that food but in moderation.
2) Fill up the Fruit Bowl and Lose the Candy Dish.
"Out of sight, out of mind" has some legitimate research behind it. Food researcher Brian Wansink has proven this time and time again with his experiments. For example, he gave candy dishes to secretaries to have on their desk. Some were clear and others were not. The secretaries that could see the candy ultimately ate more. You can apply this tactic at home as well. Get rid of the candy dish on the counter and replace it with a bowl of fresh fruits. This will stop you from grazing on the candies and help encourage you and your family to eat more fruit when you start feeling hungry. It's a small change but it really does work!
3) Store Pre-chopped Veggies in the Fridge.
Snacking habits can be a matter of convenience and while we might have the best of intentions we don't always get to the vegetables in the fridge. Try pre-chopping a variety of vegetables at the start of the week when you have time and keep them in a clear container in the fridge (remember that out of sight out of mind concept from above?). Have at least one favorite healthier dip option right next to the vegetable container for an easy healthy snack. Maybe a hummus or low fat dressing? The choice is really yours but this small change can really encourage people to snack on more vegetables!
4) Try to Make Your Regular Hangout AWAY From the Kitchen
If your living room is right off the kitchen it will be more tempting to wander in when you get a craving and start looking around. If you have another room your can hang out in to play games, read your book or watch a movie that is further from the snacks then try spending more time in there. Better yet, if the craving hits try distracting yourself with another activity like calling a friend or going for a walk. If the craving is still there after the activity then don't feel ashamed if you have the snack. You might really be hungry. Recognize though that you were in control of the situation and were able to wait instead of giving in to the craving right away. This is an important step towards eating more mindfully.
Hopefully some of these tips will help move you in the right direction with your snacking. Every little step counts!