Why You Can’t Stop Snacking on Leftovers as You Put Them Away

leftovers; Ryann Nicole

Written By:


Ryann Nicole

Hands up if you’ve ever found yourself sneaking bites of leftovers while putting them away! 🙋🏼‍♀️ Trust me; you’re not alone. It used to be me, too. The temptation is just too strong, and you find yourself thinking, “Quick, grab a handful; they’re not looking.” You might even find yourself frantically stuffing your face as you wash the dishes, chewing as fast as possible just to get that extra morsel down. 😖 But it’s not a good feeling, is it?

3 Reasons You Can’t Stop Snacking on Leftovers

Now, let’s make one thing clear: there’s absolutely nothing wrong with snagging an extra bite or two while you’re cleaning up. After all, those leftovers can be incredibly tempting. However, if your snacking starts to feel compulsive or out of control, it might be worth exploring a couple of factors.

1. Am I Eating Enough?

One of the key factors contributing to your inability to resist those leftover nibbles is whether you’re eating enough during your regular meals. It’s not always easy to gauge your fullness, especially if you struggle with connecting to your body’s signals. But a good rule of thumb is that when you’ve genuinely had enough, you won’t want any more food. It’s essential to note that this amount will vary based on where you are in your journey toward a healthier relationship with food.

So, the first question to ask yourself is whether you’re genuinely satisfying your hunger during your regular meals.

2. Are My Meals Satisfying?

Another aspect to consider is the satisfaction factor of your meals. Are they truly enjoyable? Do you look forward to them, or do you find yourself munching your way through them with little pleasure?

If your meals are genuinely satisfying, and you’re eating enough during your regular meals but still can’t resist those leftover temptations, it might be time to dig a bit deeper.

Here are some other things to reflect on:

  • Am I Eating Enough During the Day? It’s crucial to space your meals and snacks throughout the day to ensure you don’t arrive at your main meals feeling ravenous.
  • Are My Meals Balanced? A balanced meal with a combination of macronutrients (carbs, proteins, and fats) can help keep you satisfied.
  • Do I Pay Attention to the Food While I’m Eating It? Mindful eating can help you connect with the experience of eating and reduce mindless snacking.
  • Is My Eating Environment Relaxing or Stressful? Eating in a calm and pleasant atmosphere can make a significant difference in your eating habits.
  • Am I Trying to Soothe an Emotional Need? Sometimes, we reach for snacks to cope with stress, anxiety, or other emotions. Recognizing this pattern is the first step in addressing it.

As you embark on this journey of self-discovery, remember to be curious rather than judgmental. Give yourself time to learn and explore your relationship with food. Snacking on leftovers as you put them away might be more than just a mere craving; it could be your body’s way of signaling a need that requires your attention.

10 Things To Add To Your Coping Box 

Just so you know, I do review everything I recommend. When you buy through links on this page, we may earn a commission.

An emotional coping box, also known as a self-soothe or comfort box, is a personalized collection of items that can help individuals cope with difficult emotions, stress, or challenging situations. It’s a tangible and accessible resource that provides comfort and distraction during moments of distress. Here are 10 things you can consider adding to your emotional coping box:

Comfort Objects

Include items that bring you comfort, such as a soft blanket, stuffed animal, or cozy socks. These tactile objects can provide a sense of security and grounding.

Positive Affirmations

Write down or print out affirmations and positive quotes that resonate with you. Reading these affirmations can help shift your mindset and promote self-compassion.

Sensory Items

Incorporate items that engage your senses, such as scented candles, essential oils, or stress-relief lotion. Pleasant scents can have a calming effect.

Fidget Toys or Stress Balls

Include small items like stress balls, fidget spinners, or textured toys. These can serve as a physical outlet for nervous energy and help redirect focus.

Journal and Pen

Keep a journal or notebook to write down your thoughts, feelings, and reflections. Journaling can be a therapeutic way to express and process emotions.

Photographs or Mementos

Include pictures of loved ones, happy memories, or items that hold sentimental value. Visual reminders of positive experiences can bring comfort and perspective.

Guided Relaxation or Meditation Resources

Include a small audio player or device with pre-loaded guided relaxation or meditation sessions. These can help you practice mindfulness and manage stress.

Playlist of Uplifting Music

Create a playlist of music that brings you joy or relaxation. Music has the power to influence mood, and having a go-to playlist can be a quick mood booster.

List of Coping Strategies

Write down a list of healthy coping strategies that work for you. This could include deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, or simple activities that bring you a sense of peace.

Remember, the contents of your emotional coping box should be tailored to your preferences and needs. Regularly review and update the items to ensure they remain effective for you over time. The goal is to have a readily available toolkit that supports your emotional well-being during challenging moments.

Ryann Nicole

Licensed Therapist, Certified Nutritionist, and Virtual Wellness Coach

Ryann is a licensed therapist and virtual wellness coach who has assisted individuals worldwide in establishing a healthier relationship with food and their bodies.

Are You Ready to Heal Your Relationship With Food? 

I understand—it can be overwhelming to figure out where to begin. Let's simplify things and have you start right here:

Why Am I Overeating?

First Steps To Stop Binge Eating 

The Food Freedom Lab Podcast




the food freedom lab podcast

Ryann is a licensed therapist and virtual wellness coach who has assisted individuals worldwide in establishing a healthier relationship with food and their bodies.