How to Stop “Needing” Snacks Between Meals

Snacking isn’t bad

  • Snacking isn’t bad – if it’s within your daily calorie needs
  • The kind of snack you choose matters
  • If you can’t make good choices while you snack, you probably shouldn’t snack.
  • There could be a reasonable reason why you have a hard time not snacking between meals
The Beginning of the Snacking Era

I think in the 90s there was a “rumor” that the way to lose weight was by eating 6 small meals a day.

The problem with this idea is that if you’re eating 6 small meals a day, then you can never have medium or large sized meals; and unfortunately, you like those bigger meals. Without the ability to have medium and large meals, you’d never be able to go out to eat and feel like you’re eating normally. What can you get for 300 calorie budget – a side order?!?!

“What would you like to eat, Miss?”

“Yes, I’ll have a side – the baked potato. No sour cream or butter, please.”

Our culture doesn’t find that kind of behavior normal. Therefore, we never really learned the trick of eating 6 small meals in a day. We did learn SOMETHING though… we learned how to add snacks to already full meals. Adding snacks, in this way, caused most people to start gaining weight.

One other trend started in conjuction with the recommendation for 6 “small” meals a day – a low fat craze.  Anytime you see the words, “low fat,” I want you to read “high carbohydrate.” As the low fat craze took over in the same generation as the 6 small meals a day, we started to become a people that constantly snacked on inexpensive, fast carbohydrates. But, by golly, they were “fat free!”

High carbohydrate snacks tend to be poor nutrition quality selections. What’s an example of some of these fast/inexpensive poor quality snacks? Oh, all your favorites.

Here are a few listed…

  • Crackers
  • Cereal
  • Cookies
  • Candy
  • Cake
  • Granola Bars
  • Potato Chips
  • Popcorn
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Pretzels
  • French Fries

If you’re regularly consuming these foods – you probably need a game plan to stop. The reason you need a game plan to stop is because these foods are addictive, not filling, and they’re also causing inflammation inside your body that you’re going to have to fix later.

It’s sad that all of this started in the name of “being healthy.” (tear)

Let’s Get to the Root of the Problem

The root of the problem: You’re hungry a mere two hours after you’ve eaten.

In this state of hunger, you break down and snack based on convenience instead of health – because your need is immediate. You don’t like feeling hungry. You need to fix it and fix it quick.

When this reaction starts to happen, I need you to ask yourself some questions: Are you really hungry? Did the TV make you hungry with pictures of food? Did someone in the house start eating in front of you and you smelled it? Are you really thirsty instead?

If you are indeed hungry, then consider your last meal. Was is all carbohydrates (as in lacking meat, healthy fat, or vegetables)? If so, it’s time to learn.

Learning Moment: Absorption and Digestion Times

There are three main nutrients in food – carbohydrates, protein and fat. These are the things that give us energy to run our body. Each of these nutrients have a different time needed to absorb and digest the nutrient. Some nutrients are quicker than others.

Absorption and Digestion Times for the Three Nutrients:

    1. Carbohydrates – 30 minutes to 2 hours
    2. Protein – 3 hours
    3. Fat – 3-10 hours

The key is to eat mixed meals with all three nutrients.

Breakfast Example

Sometimes, we fail to eat mixed meals – like when we eat a bowl of cereal and milk for our breakfast. Both cereal and milk are mainly carbohydrates.

With our new information on absorption and digestion times, we would know that if we chose to eat cereal and milk at 6AM, it would last us approximately two hours or until 8AM before our stomach started signaling that we were slightly hungry/empty again.

By 9AM we are feeling really desperate…

By 10AM we are headed to the vending machine or pantry to see what we can get to eat.

Don’t you see? You did it to yourself. You chose a meal that would only last two hours. It didn’t matter that you had a BIG bowl to help fill you up. It’s still going to be gone two hours later.

The End to your Snacking Problems 

The solution would be to make sure you’re eating some kind of meat/protein with every meal AND some kind of fat. Ultimately you want to make it from breakfast at 6AM to lunch at 12PM. That’s 6 hours. In order to do that, you have to incorporate a fat source into your breakfast because it’s the only thing that takes that long to be absorbed and digested.


Don’t be scared to eat. If you’re dieting, the worst thing to do would be sticking to fat free carbohydrates for your meals because you’re only going to make yourself hungry more frequently.

Balanced meals within your calorie range is probably your best bet for being a happy, satisfied individual –  who is also losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight.

When your stomach’s not empty, you’ll have more self-control.

The rest is up to you. :)

One thought on “How to Stop “Needing” Snacks Between Meals

  1. Pingback: The Importance of Breakfast | thebeetingheart

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