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10 Alternatives to snacking

Judy Keane is a freelance writer and public relations director living in Scottsdale, Arizona. She holds an MBA in International Business, is currently working on her first book, and enjoys food from lands near and far!

Snacking alternatives

No doubt one of your New Year's resolutions is eating right and perhaps, eating less! But snack attacks are always standing by to subvert your noble plans of banishing everything bad from your diet. Snacking itself isn't bad - but if you are snacking simply because you are stressed, tired, bored, or depressed, it is important to put a stop to it, preferably before you devour that bag of chips! So, before thinking the only way to stave off snacking is by eating something, think again. Below are 10 unique alternatives to regain control of emotional eating and leave day long nibbling in the dust!

Snacking alternatives tips:

1. Try deep breathing.
This often curbs or stop the desire altogether for stress-based eating. Sit upright with good posture and take slow breaths. Each breath should take five to 10 seconds in and five to 10 seconds out. Do this for five minutes. Not only will you feel much better, but your stress induced craving will vanish.

2. Chew sugar-free gum.
Gum chewing is actually a simple and cost effective way to avoid unnecessary snacking. A recent Australia-based study showed that chewing gum actually increases alertness and improves performance while multi-tasking!

3. Get enough sleep.
Studies have shown that women who skimp on sleep are actually more prone to overeating. Lack of sleep can also have other adverse health effects including increased rates of diabetes and heart disease. So make sure you get at least 7 and a half hours of sleep every night to stave off sleep induced snacking.

4. Do a few basic stretches to take your mind off of eating and improve flexibility.
Here are two simple stretches to try: (A) In a standing position with feet apart, turn your head as far to the right as possible and hold for five seconds. Then bring head back to the center and repeat, turning your head to the left side. Do this for five repetitions. (B) Starting in the same position, put your arms straight out to your sides so your body makes a "T." Keep your feet and hits planted forward. Twist your torso so one hand is pointed in front of your and the other behind. Twist in both directions and repeat 10 times.

5. Exercise!

Head to the gym, a yoga class, or go for a run. At work, get up from your desk, take a walk around your building or go up and down several flights of stairs.

6. Drink water!
When you want to eat in response to an emotion, drink water instead. Aside from simply being good for you and your system, water gives you the feeling of being full.

7. Focus on something other than food.
Organize your closet, read, clean, watch a movie, or listen to music. This will help you focus on something other than your desire to snack based on feeling. By shifting your focus, you occupy your mind with something other than food and the urge to eat exits as easily as it arrived.

8. Try on Clothes.
Trying on clothes will keep you focused on how you look instead of what you want to eat. And hey, it's a fun diversion!

9. Go beyond yourself.
Strike up a conversation with a mate, co-worker, business associate, friend or stranger. Such a simple act can realign your focus and shift your mind away from mindless nibbling.

10. If you must snack...

Eat fruits that take time to peel, like oranges or a few nuts in the shell. This will create more awareness, while also serving as a healthy option to help curb your cravings.
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