Snacking is dieting’s worst enemy. So many well-thought-out weight loss plans have fallen at the feet of the 3pm hunger. You don’t want to ruin your good work, but larger portions during meals defeat the purpose of eating healthier. That said, eating a few cookies to sate your craving also sets you back.

This struggle can seem inescapable, and many dieters will encounter it at some point. You don’t have to admit defeat when snack time rolls around. No, you can beat it with a few smart tricks that’ll leave you feeling fuller, but healthier.

Drink Water

If snacking is a diet’s nemesis, then water is snacking’s. Water is a zero calorie, zero sugar, zero fat drink that’s both hydrating and filling. This makes it a great alternative to a snack. In a sense, a snack is a craving, not a necessary meal. Because of this, you don’t need to eat, you’re just a bit peckish. Water is a great way to fill you up between meals.

In fact, sometimes, when you feel hungry, you’re actually feeling thirsty. Our bodies are not very good at telling the difference between the two. So, if you’re thinking you’re hungry around snack time, grab a drink of water. You may just be thirsty.

Water can also be effective in preventing overeating during meals. Before you start eating dinner, for example, drink a glass of water. Filling up with calorie-free water helps you eat less and lose additional weight. If you want to add a little flavor to your water, try a cup of black tea. The calories are minimal (if you’re not adding milk or sugar) and there’s a little more flavor.

Chew Gum

Some may consider it a bad habit, but if you’re finding snack cravings to be irresistible, chew some gum. Studies found that chewing gum curbs hunger and promotes weight loss. Gum-chewing simulates eating which can trick your brain into thinking you’re eating. Studies show this can actually help you feel full. You won’t lose a massive amount of weight from this trick alone, but it’s one tool in your kit.

Make It Harder to Snack

Sometimes, snacking is inevitable. We’re all human, so, on occasion, we err. To account for this, there are steps you can take. If you want to limit how much you snack, make it harder to get to get them. Literally, put up little obstacles. Studies show that we’re incredibly lazy when we snack. Even simply hiding the candy may be enough to curb your snacking. Who would have though laziness could help us lose weight?

You can use this knowledge to encourage healthy eating. Put healthy treats in plain view and easier to access than unhealthy snacks. Making healthy snacks readily available is linked to lower body weight.

Workout

Previously, we’ve talked about how exercise can make you hungry and how it can lead to sabotaging your workout by “rewarding” yourself with unhealthy food. Research shows that exercise can make you hungry, but can also limit hunger. The important factor is the intensity of the workout. The harder you exercise, the longer and more effective it is at curbing appetite. Just remember to not “reward” yourself afterward with an unhealthy recovery snack.

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Anyone who has tried out a diet has grappled with snacking, especially if your new diet eliminates some food or food group. That gnawing hunger between meals can be difficult to deny. Difficult, that is, unless you know what you’re doing. With these tricks in your arsenal, overindulging on snacks can become a thing of the past.