Deciding to stop snacking all day and stop eating after dinner can be difficult. Our modern food culture makes it so easy to eat constantly, especially between meals.
For me, one of the most difficult things was being able to END a meal and abstain from eating until the next meal. After I had eaten a sufficient amount of food, or even at times when I was physically full, I would keep eating and snacking. I would continue eating while cleaning up the meal, eating food from my kids plates, and even grabbing something sweet like handfuls of cereal to end with a treat. I think I would do it to delay getting back to work or deal with my responsibilities. Sometimes I’d do it because I enjoy the downtime of eating.
While I still struggle here, I’m much better about creating rituals and habits to end a meal in a healthy way, and move on with my day rather than nibble on food until the next meal. Below are some ideas that have helped me, helped other people, and just might help you!
Ways to Stop Eating After Dinner
- Clean the kitchen. If you can just stand up and get to work, it may take your mind off of relaxing and eating. Once the kitchen is clean,walk away and don’t return until the next meal.
- Eat lemons or drink lemon water. This seriously puts a strange taste in your mouth. I usually don’t want to keep eating after this. Any other food that has the same effect, will work.
- Chew gum. Keeping your mouth busy is sometimes the best defense against nibbling on leftovers. Have that gum ready to go, and chow down.
- Brush your teeth. You have to do it anyway, why not do it immediately following the meal. (or a squirt of Binaca if you are from the 80’s and don’t have your toothbrush handy!)
- Have an activity you are looking forward to (watching a show, taking a walk). This works very well for me for after dinner. I’m definitely a
- Plate your entire meal and when you are done, there is no more food.
- Balance all macronutrients so your meal is satisfying. When you include protein, carbs, and fat at your meals, you are more likely to be satiated. Eliminating any food group, and I promise you’ll be scavenging your cupboards. Mentally, if I take out carbs, I’m always eyeing some sliced bread, just to feel complete. Physiologically when you remove protein or fat, the hormone signals that you are full often fail.
- Read after the meal. If you have a book you can’t wait to pick up and relax with, let it be your after meal reward. Snuggle up, grab your book, and chill on the couch while you read for 20 minutes and let your stomach get the signal that you are full.
- Journal after your meal. This can give you great insight into why you might be struggling with overeating or feel the need to always be snacking on something.
- Meditate after your meal. If you enjoy meditating, this could be something you could look forward to. If you have kids involved, create some family quiet time, prayer, scripture reading, or anything that is calming and connecting.
- Break the “sweet” ending to a meal by replacing it with veggies to end your meal. Snack on carrots or cucumbers for dessert!
- Keep your sweet habit, and always end the meal with a piece of fruit. This was something I saw in all of our Japanese exchange students. I had one tell me she ate dessert after every meal. Surprised I pressed for more info,and it turned out her idea of dessert was a piece of fruit!
These 12 ideas to stop snacking between meals and have a defined and finite end to a meal can help in your attempts to stop grazing all day!