How to Break Your Bad Habit of Constant Snacking

Snacking can be good for bad for your diet.
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If you want to get away from between-meal snacks, the first step may be to figure out why you're snacking so much. If you're hungry, you may need to eat more at lunch and dinner so you can make it to the next meal without the extra nibbles. If you're munching is mindless, then maybe you need to rearrange your environment so you don't automatically grab something and shove it into your mouth whenever you get bored.

Tips for Not Snacking

If you want to cut back on your snacking, you can with a little preparation. Don't keep snacks like candy and chips in your work area and make sure you are equipped with nutritious alternatives for times when you are really hungry.

Many times we reach for snacks when we are doing something else that has our attention. For example, perhaps you notice that everytime you sit on the couch to watch TV, play a video game, or go through your phone, that you are looking for a salty snack. If this occurs often, you may have identified a behavior that can be changed. Instead, grab a glass of water before you sit on the couch so that you have something to hold but are less likely to want a snack.

If you're snacking because you're bored or stressed, try going for a walk, getting some exercise, or maybe even calling or texting a friend. Friends and family can be the best support system—ask them to help keep your mind off snacking.

Tips for Healthy Snacking

Maybe you don't need to give up your nightly nibbles. Snacking isn't necessarily a bad thing and can actually serve as a great time to boost your nutrition. Snacks can provide us with energy and also curb our hunger between meals.

Use your snacks to boost your nutritional intake. Choose fresh fruit, whole-grain crackers, low-fat yogurt, nuts, and fresh vegetables. This way, you'll get extra vitamins, minerals, and fiber. A little bit of cheese, a hard-boiled egg, or lean meat is fine, too, but watch your serving sizes, because these foods are energy dense. Choose candy bars, cookies, cakes, pastries, ice cream, and chips seldomly as these foods are high in sugar, fat, and sodium, and will not provide you with sustainable energy— which can lead to more snacking later on.

Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  • Gropper SS, Smith JL, Groff JL. Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism. Sixth Edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company; 2013. 

  • Smolin LA, Grosvenor, MB. Nutrition: Science and Applications. Third Edition. Wiley Publishing Company; 2013. 

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2020 – 2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

By Shereen Lehman, MS
Shereen Lehman, MS, is a former writer for Verywell Fit and Reuters Health. She's a healthcare journalist who writes about healthy eating and offers evidence-based advice for regular people.