Living in a dorm room is equivalent to taking your bed and plopping it in the middle of your kitchen. Sure, you lack an oven and a stove, but the fridge, the microwave, and the drawers filled with snacks are all there. Just a foot away from where you sleep. On top of that, not only can you not escape your kitchen while living in a dorm room, but in the days of this pandemic, you can’t even escape the dorm room! So now you’re living next to all your food, you’re bored, your classes are online and you have nothing to do and nowhere to go. The snacks are calling your name. You don’t even eat real meals anymore. If this sounds like you, keep reading for tips to prevent mindless snacking in the dorm room. 

1) First things first, are you actually hungry?

Lindsey Moser

This seems like the most logical thing to ask yourself before mindlessly shoving handfuls of various snacks into your mouth, but do you ever really do it? Before grabbing a snack, think: am I actually hungry right now? If you are, great. Eat the snack! If you’re not actually hungry, try and ask yourself why you’re reaching for a snack. Are you bored? Try going for a walk, doing some schoolwork, reading a book, watching a show. Are you stressed? Think of other ways that might make you feel better. Listen to music, call a friend, watch YouTube, exercise. Do something that will actually relieve the emotion. I promise if you’re bored, stressed, sad, anxious, you will still be all of those things after you finish the snack. 

2) Purchase individually wrapped snacks

Individual bags of skinny pop, chickpea snacks, protein bars, and trail mixes that come in single serve packaging are always a good idea. Obviously if you have a giant open bag of pretzels, chips, nuts, cereal etc. you’re going to keep reaching for them. If you actually have to open a new bag of food you’ll likely be more inclined to think about if you’re actually hungry or not. If some of your favorite snacks aren't sold single serving, then be sure to read the serving size and try to portion the snack out oppose to eating straight from the bag. 

3) Eat 3 balanced meals everyday

Lindsey Moser

It’s way too common for college students to skip meals, and because of this constant snacking ends up replacing them. I’m definitely guilty of replacing lunch with a protein bar, but when I do, I notice myself reaching for snack after snack until dinner rolls around because I was never actually satisfied. Of course have a snack or two in between your meals, but starting your day with a full breakfast and making a habit of eating lunch is a good way to ensure you won't feel the need to snack constantly. Also, make sure your meals are balanced and filling. A bowl of frosted flakes in the morning probably won't keep you full as well as something like greek yogurt, granola and peanut butter.

4) Try making yourself a snack plate!

Lindsey Moser

An example is pictured above. The problem with snacks like chips, pretzels, goldfish etc. is they lack nutrients like protein, healthy fats, and fiber to actually keep you full, because of this you may feel like a bottomless pit that can just keep eating forever! Try balancing your snacks by incorporating a source of protein, fat, and carbohydrates as well as a fruit or vegetable. This way you’ll actually feel full and more satisfied then with a snack that only involves one food group. Check out my instagram @realisticnotrestrictive for more snack plate examples!

5) Prioritize sleep!

Last, but definitely not least. Get enough sleep! Maybe you're snacking all day simply because you’re exhausted. Here's a quick science lesson: leptin and ghrelin are two hormones that control our hunger. Leptin is the hormone that decreases hunger while ghrelin increases hunger. When trying to function on little sleep the body experiences increased ghrelin levels and decreased leptin levels! A lack of sleep is incredibly common for college students, but may also be the reason you just keep eating and never seem to feel full! 

Bonus tip: don't be so hard on yourself! It's hard to sit in a room all day and not feel tempted to keep snacking. The most important thing you can do to stay healthy is fuel your body, and if that sometimes results in eating what feels like an entire supermarket aisle worth of snacks, then that's okay too!