I was cleaning out my cabinet the other day and much to my surprise I discovered a number of half eaten bags of snacks like rice cakes, nuts, crackers. Some of which I bought quite a while ago.

This may not seem momentous but it is a huge accomplishment in my weight loss journey. There was a time not so long ago that I could not keep a snacks in the house without polishing then off within a day or two of buying them. I had no concept of portion size. I would assume a “small” bag of something was one serving and eat it all. I was a picker. I would snack while I was cooking, waiting, watching, talking on the telephone. You get the picture. I would have a little bit here and there multiple times a day. Before I knew it the snacks would be gone.

So what has changed?

Last year I bought a food scale and started measuring out recommended serving sizes. This completely changed my perception of portion size.

Now I take a portion out of the bag or box. I close up the package and return it to the cabinet. If I decide to have a second portion I have to physically get up and get it. This gives me a little time to actually think about whether or not I’m really hungry.

I stopped buying most packaged snack foods. I limit them to things like Triscuits with a short list of ingredients I can actually pronounce. I splurge on organic treats from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods when I am able to avoid unhealthy ingredients. I also bake whole grain treats as often as I can. I keep lots of fresh fruit within reach and I try to grab for that first when I feel like snacking. A big bowl of grapes is great for when that “picky” hunger hits mid day.

I come prepared.  I carry healthy snacks on me if I’m going to be out for a couple of hours or more. This eliminates stopping somewhere and having limited choices. Since I have a toddler I usually pack a snack bag for him so why not throw in a few for me too.

Sometimes I try drinking a glass of water or a cup of tea to make sure I’m not just thirsty. Unfortunately for my voracious appetite thirst has never been a big issue for me!

I recently picked up a new tactic over on Marisa’s blog Loser for Life.  I’m trying to incorporate Green Monster smoothies as my afternoon snack. They fill me up, take a little more time to make than rifling through a bag of chips and I get the added bonus of another serving of veggies and fruit.

I am in much more control with snacking and eating in general. I am learning to pay attention to my hunger and respond to it as opposed to just eating for the sake of eating. Snacks seem to be more enjoyable when I take my time to think about what I am actually eating and how it might make me feel.

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