20 Hacks to Stop Mindless Snacking (that actually work)

Hint—swap that desire to snack with an act of self-care.

By: Rebecca Jacobs

If you’ve ever found yourself standing in the kitchen, peering mindlessly into the fridge…you’re not alone. Mindless snacking is a common not-so-great habit many of us find ourselves guilty of. Unlike purposeful, healthy snacks, which keep hangriness from striking, the mindless digging into the chip bag as you answer emails or watch Netflix can add up fast, meaning lots of extra calories and unwanted sugar and sodium. Wondering how to finally stop mindless snacking? We got you covered. 

Next time you find yourself not-really-hungry, but feeling the mindless munchies creep in, here are 20 things you can do instead of snacking.

20 Things You Can Do Instead of Mindlessly Snacking

#1 Go for a Hike

Lace-up those kicks and hit the pavement for a dose of vitamin D, and the great outdoors—an hour hike can burn up to 370 calories! Getting outside for some physical activity is basically the perfect trifecta for health. Get the blood flowing, soak up some vitamin D, all while doing something other than mindless snacking. 

#2 Throw a Solo Dance Party

Wondering how to stop mindless snacking while also having fun? We got you, girl. Crank up that fave Spotify station and dance around your living room like no one’s watching (other than your cat.)

#3 Drink Water

Did you know it’s often not pangs of hunger, but dehydration you’re feeling? Make sure to stay hydrated on H20 throughout the day, which is key to fat-burning and weight loss, too. Staying hydrated is also ah-mazing for flushing out yucky toxins from the body and keeping bloat at bay. So, keep your bottle of water filled and handy. You’ll want to sip on that water throughout the day. 

#4 Tidy Up 

Here’s how to stop mindless snacking, while also keeping up with your list of household tasks on your endless to-do list. When those sugar cravings kick in, and you’re finding the need to mindlessly snack, tidy up a spot in your house, apartment, or even your office. A well-kept environment totally impacts our mood (and is a quick way to torch a few calories while you’re at it.)

#5 Do Yoga

Get down on the mat with a sun salutation or some cobra stretches, for a quick energy boost and improved flexibility.

#6 Spend Time on a Hobby

Because having something you love doing outside of your 9-5 work is so important, and a great distraction when you find yourself running for that box of cookies. 

#7 Take a Nap

Here’s how to stop mindless snacking while also supercharging your energy levels for the rest of the day. Note—short is best! Research shows between 10-20 mins is ideal for a quick, rejuvenating power nap.

#8 Give Yourself a Mani

Self-care doesn’t only come in the form of comfort food, so give your talons some TLC.  

#9 Garden

Getting your hands in nature has numerous health benefits, so get your green thumb on and grow something of your own. 

#10 Read a Book

Because there’s still nothing quite like losing yourself in a good page-turner, and a great way to distract yourself from those pesky sugar cravings. 

#11 Journal

Just let your thoughts flow – it’s restorative, free, and reduces stress, which is totally critical to not just letting that sh*t go, but also dropping the pounds, and a healthy hack to doing something other than giving in to those mindless snacking temptations. 

#12 Marie Kondo Your Drawers

If it’s not “sparking joy,” let it go! You can even list your unwanted clothing items for sale for some extra cash.

#13 Have a Deep Conversation

When was the last time you and a friend or spouse had a phone-free chat looking each other in the eye? Grab your chattiest friend or ask your spouse to sit down with a cup of coffee (no sugar added), and just talk! 

#14 Stretch it Out

Loosening up increases range of motion, improves circulation, and helps prevent injury and sore muscles (and just plain feels great.) So, here’s how to stop mindless snacking, while also doing some really ah-mazing for your body. You go, girl! 

#15 Whip Up a Facemask

We’re always down for an at-home spa day, and getting your DIY on is a great mindless snacking distraction. 

#16 Watch a Food Documentary on Netflix

Because if you’re gonna Netflix binge, might as well come away inspired and educated (just search food or head the documentary genre–there are many good ones!) 

#17 Get Chatty With a Friend 

Because connection and “just because” convos are good for the soul.

#18 Meditate

There’s a reason why so many of the uber-successful swear by meditation. And even a quick one-minute session helps restore your Zen, centers your mind, and helps you fight off those mindless snack cravings. Want to learn more? We dove into three ways to use mindfulness to eat less junk and lose weight here.  

#19 Cozy up With a Cup of Tea

Hydration is key, but water can get dull, so cozy up to a hot cup of green or herbal tea (Rooibos tea has been shown to speed up metabolism and aid in fat burning.)

#20 Meal Prep

If you’re gravitating toward food, don’t spoil your own dinner – instead of snacking, cook up a wholesome meal or several, and portion them out, so you’re meal prepped for the week ahead. While you’re at it, prep some easy grab and go lunch recipes you can take with you to work to nourish your body and keep blood sugar levels stable all day long. 

Stop Mindless Snacking in its Tracks

If mindless snacking is one of your health pitfalls, we get it—it’s easy to just zone out while binge-watching This is Us, or grab handfuls of popcorn without even thinking about it as you scroll through your Insta feed. But, if mindless snacking has become a reason your fitness results have stalled, try these 20 hacks on how to stop mindless snacking once and for all. 

Plus, as you stop mindless snacking in its tracks, you’ll also be double-dipping in some self-care. So, go get it, girl. Quit the mindless snacking habit and do a handful of these hacks instead. It may just help you get to the next level with your fitness success.