Q&A: “How do I stop craving unhealthy snacks?”

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Steve from Wolverhampton asks: “I try to keep alcohol to a minimum but I do weaken once a week and have some. Can you tell me how I can avoid the overwhelming urge to binge eat. I get the “munchies” and can’t resist crisps biscuits etc after a drink”.

Craving unhealthy snacks after a drink or two is a common problem and affects a lot of people!  The key is to identify that it is both a psychological problem and also a physiological one.  That it, beating the cravings is a lot to do with will-power, but can be strongly influenced by other lifestyle factors such as low blood sugar levels and hydration too.  Check out the following tips for maximum binge-prevention…

Step 1: Have a perfect healthy eating day.

Have a perfect eating day so that you can get away with the extra calories, but decide on a limit to your snacking so you don’t get carried away!  Eat regularly throughout the day, and don’t skip meals! – this will only make you want to snack more. If you go for a low calorie beverage you can also justify a few extra calories found in a couple of biscuits.

Step 2: Remove the temptation.

The easiest way to resist temptation is for the temptation to not be there!  Ask your partner to hide the unhealthy snacks, or if there’s no need to have them around, remove them completely.

Step 3: Healthy snacks.

Snacking, when healthy, is good!  It keeps your blood sugar and energy levels balanced between main meals and means you’ll be less likely to want to binge eat on bad stuff later.  Don’t just go for low calorie snacks though, they are often low calorie for a reason, i.e. there isn’t any good stuff in them.  Instead opt for snacks that are…

  • High in fibre – 3grams per serving.
  • Lower in sugar – 5grams per 100grams
  • Low in saturated fat – 1.5grams per 100grams
  • Vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids – Unsurprisingly natural, ‘raw’ food should be bursting with at least one of these things.

Try also picking on snacks that take a bit of work. Pistachios, oranges, kiwis etc are all delicious but require a mini operation to get into.  Opt for these in the evening, and they’ll keep your fingers busy so you aren’t tempted to reach for the crisp bowl.

Step 4: Hydrate.

Drink a glass of water in-between every alcoholic drink.  Thirst is often mistaken for hunger, so if you feel hungry try necking a big glass of water and then leave it 15 minutes.   Dehydration also drains your energy levels which can cause you to want carbs like crisps and biscuits, so have a couple of big swigs of water and see what happens…If you’re still peckish, allow yourself something small following the above guidelines!

Step 5: Distract yourself.

Finally if you still start to crave unhealthy snacks, distract yourself. Play around with an app or immerse yourself in a task.  If you remain just sat down in-front of the TV with a bowl of crisps under your nose you might have a battle on your hands.

Ultimately this comes down to will power.  Tell yourself that the alcoholic drink is your treat and don’t drink on an empty stomach, have a normal eating day.

If you are still struggling this could be an early indication of your motivation starting to slip so you may want to have a deeper look into what motivates you and how to get back on track.


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