Most people will agree that snacking is the biggest enemy when it comes to healthy eating. Although it is actually good to eat a small meal or snack (which is 100 calories) every 3 hours to keep your metabolism up, most people take snacking to a different degree by stuffing themselves with way too many calories. Most vending machines are full of unhealthy options. And, let’s face it, that $1 chocolate bar or bag of Doritos looks and sounds a lot better then some celery or an apple. Here are some tips to help you knock healthy snacking out of the park.

First, try to figure out your schedule and when you snack the most. Maybe you’ve been up since 5:30 am and at work since 7:00 am. It’s now 9:30 and you feel like you just can’t wait to eat until lunch! This may be the perfect time for a snack, but not from the vending machine! Figuring out when your snack times are will help you make an outline for the day.

Once you have that snack schedule written down, see if there are some changes that need to be made. For example, instead of eating breakfast at 6am before you leave for work, take your breakfast to work and eat around 7:30 or 8:00 am. Pushing back your breakfast will keep you full longer until it is time for lunch. Another example, if you are always starving a few hours after your breakfast, lunch or dinner, try drinking water in between meals to hold off that feeling. Water is not only great for your body, it also helps keep you feeling full for a longer period of time.

So, what if eating your breakfast later isn’t an option and the water didn’t help? Maybe you really do need a small snack? If so, still try to stay away from that convenient vending machine. This is when you put on your chef hat and figure out a couple healthy and easy options to take to work. The vending machine is easy because you walk up, it takes your money, and within 30 seconds you have food. Magic! Nope, harmful! A portion controlled size of trail mix can be a great option, it may be a bit higher in fats, but a small handful can help hold you over till lunch. A small bowl or oatmeal, an apple, or even a protein shake are all great healthy options.

One final question you need to ask yourself when you feel those hunger pains. Are you actually hungry or just bored? This is a tricky one because boredom often equates to hunger psychologically, but it’s not really hunger. If you are truly just bored, occupy yourself with something to keep your mind off food. Try drinking that water to satisfy you. But, if you must eat that snack, make sure it’s NOT from a vending machine and keep it small and healthy!

Unfortunately, there is no magical pill to help you stop snacking! But, using our tips, you can curb that snacking or turn your unhealthy snacking into a fuel filled, light and healthy one before your next meal.