There are numerous studies out there that indicate eating smaller meals often will help keep your metabolism high and burn calories faster. I have adopted this into my lifestyle and find that it helps me keep my energy levels up through the day and I never feel hungry. Instead of referring to it as snacking, let’s call it a small meal. We are re-framing the event from a negative to a positive.
The best way to avoid eating smaller meals that are unhealthy is to avoid buying the unhealthy alternatives in the first place. Remove junk food from your shopping list and only shop on a full stomach. Studies have shown that people who shop on an empty stomach are more likely to purchase junk food as a quick fix for hunger. Stay on the outer perimeter of the grocery store when shopping and only go down the aisles that you need to go down for specific items. When going down an aisle, stay focused on what you need from the list and go directly to that item. I can complete my grocery shopping for the week in twenty minutes which includes paying and bagging the items.
If you know you will want a small meal after dinner, ensure there are healthy alternatives like fruit and veggies available to munch on. If you like salty snacks then purchase light popcorn or rice chips but pour it out into a small bowl to control the portion size. Once you finish your snack, go and brush your teeth as a way of telling your body that you are done eating for the day.
Try to eat your last small meal at least three hours before bed to allow your body time to digest. When you sleep, the body slows down so the food in your system will not be broken down and used effectively.