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How to Stop Naughty Nibbling

By Amber Cranfield, RD


The pace of modern living has turned us into a nation of nibblers. Long work hours and busy social schedules keep many of us from sitting down for a healthy, portion-controlled meal. So time after time, we resort to mindlessly grazing our way through the day. It’s not only an unhealthy habit, but it can also sabotage our weight loss goals.


If you are the kind of person who struggles to walk past a plate of biscuits without picking up a few, then chances are you’re eating more than you should. Frequent nibbling can put you over your daily calorie limit, as you are likely to eat more than you need. And even worst, you may forget that you ate anything at all!


So before you even think about putting another bite of food in your mouth between meals, ask yourself, ‘Am I really hungry?’. If the answer is yes, then perhaps it ok to have a snack.  But have a planned snack ready like a low-fat string cheese or a cut up vegetables with hummus. To make sure you don’t nibble too much throughout the day, you should set up some reasonable and manageable boundaries. Here are a few:


Hydrate: Keep a glass of water or a sugar-free drink nearby - this may be all you need to avoid nibbling.


Create some rules:


Rule #1: If I’m going to eat something, the food has to be on a plate. If limiting your nibbles is difficult, set up a small plate or saucer of low-calorie choices within quick and easy reach so you can grab those and not spoil your dinner or sabotage your calorie intake for the day!  Go for things like baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, grapes, strawberries. 


Rule #2: Anything I taste, I have to log in my food diary. It is easy to fall into the ‘I only had a few bites’ mindset.  If possible, have someone else be the taster. 


It’s important to keep in mind that eating healthy in today’s busy world can be a great challenge for all of us.  When we have the opportunity to prepare a healthy dinner, we should try to sit down and enjoy it. And remember, between meals.... limity your nibbles!