How to Stop a Snack Attack

On a weekly coaching call in my 12-week BE FREE™ program, Carly discussed challenges with eating. For example, snacking…though she may not be hungry. She was wondering how to stop a snack attack. Typical reasons being she was procrastinating or bored, frustrated, sad, or tempted by what lured her to the kitchen.

Before our work together these mid-afternoon occurrences led to some unhealthy choices…particularly sweets. The extra calories prevented Carly from reaching her health goals.

how to stop a snack attackCreate diversions

Carly and I brainstormed ways to create diversions. Often, it’s a matter of taking the focus off food for a few minutes. A craving or urge is like that. It’s like riding a wave…waves crescendo and break. We want to take a detour off that path.

What could Carly do? Here’s the list she came up with:

  1. Unload the dishwasher.
  2. Do a load of laundry.
  3. Review the industry-related newsletters she’d piled up.

We agreed…boring! No wonder she wanted a snack if those were the alternate choices.

What are other ideas?

  1. Phone a friend.
  2. Pop outside for fresh air.
  3. Paint your nails.
  4. Write a “thinking of you” note.
  5. Write in your journal.
  6. Pick some flowers.
  7. Play a video game.
  8. Play solitaire.
  9. Take the dog for a walk.
  10. Research something online.
  11. Check your Facebook feed (only if FB makes you feel good).
  12. Stretch—do simple yoga poses like downward dog and child’s pose.
  13. Do a crossword puzzle or Sudoku.
  14. Get crafty.
  15. Read.
  16. Take deep focusing breaths—mindful meditation.
  17. Play (with the kids or dog or kitty).

You’ve got the idea. Go ahead and add your own.




When in that moment you’re paralyzed and don’t know what to do. Jot don’t a few ideas—your go-to ideas—to remind yourself when the urge strikes.

What two or three things will you put on your list?how to stop a snack attack

  1. ___________________________________
  2. ___________________________________
  3. ___________________________________

Keep your list close. When you’re in that moment, refer to it as a reminder of the simple strategies to create your diversion.

Note: Pay attention because you may be hungry and in that case you need a snack! Read about hunger/fullness in this post and for a great snack idea…check out my awesome trail mix!

At first, it might be hard but with practice, it will become automatic. Habit change is hard, especially if it’s a habit you’re a master at performing. Carly did. She chucked her initial list and replaced it with her long-lost love of reading novels.


Need a helping hand moving forward on health and wellness goals? Read more here or just schedule your complimentary appointment here

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Image credits: and

Jennifer “Neily” Neily, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist | Wellcoach® Certified Health Coach


  1. Janet Perez

    The last few weeks in my pregnancy, cooking has not been my best friend.. so I really go for snacks, until my Doctor caught me and told me it was healthy for me nor the baby. So, I did have my mother, and mother in law to help a bit. Every time I think of grabbing a snack, I’ll either:
    #1 Do Homework
    #2 Call a family to come over, to watch a movie
    #3 Read my Bible

    • Neily

      Perfect! It’s a great idea to have a few things to do. Thanks for your comment! -Neily

  2. Vanessa mondragon

    Very helpful! I have a sweet tooth and I’m always craving something sweet at least once or twice a day. Thank you for the information!

    • Neily

      You’re welcome! Glad you found it helpful Vanessa. -Neily


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