If you know me, you'll know that I'm not a picky eater and I can eat a lot - especially when it comes to snacks. And if you're like me once I start eating/snacking I just can't seem to stop! Initially, I tried the approach of no snacks at all with the reasoning that if there are no snacks then there's nothing to snack on.
However, since I hadn't snacked in ages, and knew I didn't have any snacks in my room it failed horribly whenever sweets and junk food were in my reach - I just pigged out on them. Considering this "free food" is semi-regular (team meetings, birthdays etc) it doesn't help with reducing the amount of snacking.
After a particularly bad case of splurging on sweets (exams+team study+all nighters) I decided there must be a better way to reduce my snacking. Although I've only tried this for a few months, it seems like it's working and I feel I can stick to it. So here are 6 tips I've come up with which have worked quite well for me. They aren't in any particular order and probably will work standalone, though some seem to complement each other. Hope they help!
1. Always have a healthy 'snack' nearby
In addition to the snack you like (eg. chocolate) also have some healthier alternative in your room/kitchen. I keep apples in my room, so when I feel like snacking I often go for the apple first. When you've finished the apple you're quite full and probably won't feel like eating anymore
2. Set a time where you will not eat afterwards
If you research on 'healthy eating' many sources will tell you not to eat too close to bedtime due to your metabolism slowing down when you sleep. The idea is to combine this to help you reduce snacking. For me, I've set this 'deadline' at 10pm (since I generally try to sleep around midnight), so if I ever feel like snacking, and it's after 10pm I just stop myself and say "I'm going to sleep soon, I don't need to eat now."
3. Eat slowly!
This applies to main meals as well as snacks. If you eat slowly you'll feel fuller at the end of the meal, and also you can enjoy it more. Let the chocolate melt in your mouth rather than just gobbling it down!
4. Wait a while, make sure you really do want/need to eat.
I often find my desire to snack is simply because of boredom. Generally, after waiting 5 to 10 minutes I no longer feel like snacking, and if I do I sometimes go for the apple instead.
5. Break it up into small pieces
This mainly applies to blocks of chocolate, but a similar approach can be taken for other snacks. Break the block of chocolate up into small-ish pieces and store it in an airtight container or some sort of container where the snack will keep for a long time and will be out of reach of creepy crawlies! Then when you do feel like snacking, take one piece out, put it on the table, close the container, put the container back, start eating and enjoy :) (I find packing the container up before you treat yourself means less of the "just one more" syndrome)
6. Just buy what you need and no more
Don't buy too much, otherwise you might have the mindset of "must finish it off before it expires." If it's on a super special sale, maybe get one extra but not too many - after all, if you snack less you'll go through the food slower and you never know, another special might just crop up!
So those are the 6 things I try to keep in mind and I find it does work. Of course you still need some motivation and self control but I find keeping those points in mind helps a great deal. Though as I said at the start, you shouldn't deprive yourself of snacks so treat yourself from time to time :)