Beating Boredom Snacking, and a Flavored Creamer Revelation!

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Hey Hungry Girl,

I'm trying to lose 20 pounds, but I have a problem: I tend to eat when I get bored, which is OFTEN, even if I'm not hungry. How can I get this under control? Please help!

Idle Muncher

Hi Idle Muncher,

You're not alone. I get a TON of emails from people who, like you, are struggling with snacking out of boredom rather than actual hunger. I've got some tips and tricks that should help get your mindless munching under control...

Try doing an activity that'll keep your hands busy. Take up knitting, paint your nails... anything! Better yet, get out of the house; go someplace where a pantry full of food won't be staring at you. Take a walk with a pal, go window-shopping at the mall (but stay out of the food court!), or hit the park with that book you've been meaning to read.

Brush your teeth, rinse with mouthwash, or pop a piece of sugar-free mint gum. Those chips and cookies will be a lot less appealing when you've got a minty-fresh mouth!

Quench your thirst. Sipping on something could distract you from feeling like you wanna eat. Go for sugar-free iced tea, an iced coffee (stick with guilt-free add-ins!), or plain old H2O... with lots of crushed ice!

Gotta chomp on something? Sugar-free hard candies and lollipops will keep your mouth busy for a while without racking up too many calories. If you want something more "snacky," 94% fat-free popcorn is a good choice, with just about 20 calories per cup. And keep cut veggies and salsa in the fridge at all times.

Don't keep your trigger foods on hand. If you know that certain foods are triggers for you, meaning they typically send you into an eating frenzy, try to avoid buying them in the first place -- out of sight, out of mind (and mouth). At the very least, look for pre-portioned options. It's a lot easier to stop after one 100-calorie pack of cookies than it is to stop when you eat straight from a big box or bag.

Last but not least? Keep a food journal. If you hold yourself accountable for all that extra snacking, you might become a lot less likely to mindlessly munch. Try it! Good luck...

Hi HG,

There are so many delicious flavors of coffee creamers out there, but most of them are not available in sugar-free or fat-free varieties. (Boo!) Are any of the regular creamers somewhat guilt-free? The stats look a little high.

Creamer Craver

Hi Creamer Craver,

The short answer? Yes! I used to buy only sugar-free or fat-free creamers, but then I discovered that many of the regular ones have totally reasonable stats. Just stick with the powdered kind, which is my advice in general -- it's way too easy to over-pour the liquid ones. Plus, powdered creamers have a nice long shelf life, so you'll most likely save money and avoid waste. The serving size is usually 4 tsp., which is strange because it doesn't take more than a teaspoon or two to add amazing creamy flavor to coffee and other beverages. Coffee-mate makes my favorite powdered creamers, and lately I've been trying out tons of flavors that aren't sugar-free or fat-free. (There are a dozen flavors!) I'm especially loving Caramel Macchiato and Cinnamon Vanilla Crème. There's even a Belgian Style Chocolate Toffee flavor! These are a great way to satisfy a craving for something sweet without consuming too many calories. In fact, all of Coffee-mate's powdered creamers have just 15 calories or less and under a gram of fat per teaspoon. If you don't see many flavors on store shelves, you might want to order online. Hope this news just brightened up your day (and your coffee!). Enjoy...

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