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3 Ways To Stop Unhealthy Snacking

Keep these tips in mind if you’re looking for ways to resist the urge of snack attack.

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Keep these tips in mind to help avoid unhealthy snacking.

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1. Buy Plain Chips Instead

Snack chip manufacturers fall all over themselves to entice you with new flavourings, backed up with glitzy advertising campaigns and fancy packaging. Mesquite this, sour-cream-and-onion that. What they don’t tell you is that such chip flavourings typically come with hefty additional doses of salt – often twice the normal amount. And excessive salt can lead to high blood pressure, heart and kidney problems, and bone disorders. So save your exotic cravings for fresh foods and keep your chip choices simple.

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2. Beware of Energy Bars

In food-industry lingo, energy doesn’t mean vim and vigour; it means calories. And that’s what “energy bars” have plenty of. They use the imagery of hard-driving athletes who need a quick dose of calories to supply their muscles enough energy to finish the marathon. However, there aren’t enough marathoners or long-distance cyclists or cross-country skiers to provide the demand to keep all the high-profit energy bars on the shelves. So most of them wind up being bought by armchair athletes who eat them instead of lunch or just for snacks.

 

Researchers say that most of the bars do contain some ingredients that are good for you (nuts, fruit, and oats, for example), held together with goo that makes them taste good. As a lunch, energy bars are better than corn chips and soda, but not as good as an apple and a salad. If you think you need them during your workout, just be sure you’re burning more calories during the workout than you’re eating in the bar. And if by chance you are eating these bars because you really do need a shot of calories, then eat the bars slowly, advise experts. Like one bite every ten minutes.

 

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3. Don’t Keep Snacks in the House

Are you or your kids engaged in a constant struggle to resist those tantalizing chips, dips, and frozen desserts beckoning from the refrigerator and pantry? Here’s a simple secret that the junk food manufacturers hope you don’t catch on to: Once these foods have crossed the threshold of your house, they have already won the battle. Most likely, if you’ve bought it, you’ll eat it. So the place to start just saying no is at the store. Research shows that among the factors contributing to our unfortunate tendency to stuff ourselves and get fat is proximity.

 

If food is easy to get, you’re more likely to eat too much of it. If you’re trying to avoid specific foods or certain kinds of food, keep them out of the house. And it’s not just for you. The person who does the shopping and fixes most of the meals has the most influence over what others in the household eat, according to Dr. Brian Wansink, director of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University. He calls that person the “nutritional gatekeeper” (no longer always the mother). Dr. Wansink has found that Americans make about 248 food decisions every day, many of them without much thought, and that the “gatekeeper” controls 72 percent of those decisions.