Tame Unplanned Snacking with One Simple Strategy

You finish your lunch or dinner meal, leave the kitchen and soon you find yourself back in the kitchen hunting for more snack foods.

Unplanned snacking, either out of boredom or stress, can quickly derail your healthy eating program.

As an obesity medicine expert, you might be surprised to know that if you’re someone who can’t get a handle on unplanned snacking, one strategy I recommend is to brush your teeth after ever meal.

As an added benefit, attending to our oral health habits during the Covid-19 Pandemic is now more important than ever – when dental offices are closed except for emergencies.

Here’s an important fact. Poor oral health is not just about having a bright smile or being able to chew your food. It has also been associated with chronic inflammation and diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

While social distancing and with kids at home, our homes have become our workplace, school, playground, dining hall and entertainment center –   all rolled into one.

With less structure in place, many people are stress eating throughout the day and night, at their work stations, while making repeated trips to the kitchen preparing snacks for kids or when relaxing on the couch.

Brushing and flossing your teeth after meals can help you break the habit of unplanned snacking.

This leaves you with a fresh, clean minty mouth feel that serves as a tangible prompt to remind you that eating is over.

Pausing and thinking before reaching for that next bag of chips can help you put in place some healthier eating habits.

Though this may sound quite simplistic and may not help everyone, it may help you.

It is a win-win. Your teeth will be healthier, your smile may be brighter and you may have less need for an emergency dental visit!

I often recommend this strategy to my patients who find themselves snacking at night after dinner.

I also recommend this strategy in my new book, Six Factors to Fit: Weight Loss that Works for You!, for those who take my Six Factor Quiz and have high scores for the Easily Enticed Eater factor type.

This is the person who may never feel full and is easily enticed to eat by foods around them or emotional triggers.

If this sounds like you or if you want to get a better handle on which habits are derailing your healthy weight loss efforts, you can take my short, research-based Six Factor Quiz and get your personalized results.

Though social distancing may have you snacking more at home, you do have easy access to a toothbrush (electric preferred!), toothpaste, dental floss and antiseptic mouthwash.

Make sure to add these items to your next shopping list.

If you find this strategy helpful, know that when you go back to work, you can continue to use this strategy to tame workplace overeating.

Just toss a toothbrush and toothpaste in your purse or briefcase – (spoiler alert) it’s something I’ve been doing for years.

Stay home and stay well!


Robert Kushner, MD

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