Being stuck at home means that there’s no shortage of snacks around. If you can’t stop making a trip to the kitchen every half an hour, dietitian Melissa Meier shares her five best tips to halt that behaviour.
10 AM: checks the fridge. 11 AM: heads to the pantry. 12 PM: checks the fridge. One PM : back to the pantry. Sound familiar? I get it.
Most of us are currently stuck at home, with eight hours of work to do each day and not much else – so the kitchen can be mighty tempting.
If you’ve found yourself snacking all day long when you’re meant to be head-down-bum-up, here’s five strategies that could help to curb the social distancing food fest.
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1. Tune into your hunger cues
Before you start eating, you should carefully analyse your current hunger sitch, rather than deep diving into the biscuit jar without a second thought. Can you hear your tummy grumbling? Do you have an empty feeling in your stomach? Are you feeling true hunger pangs?
If so, by all means you should have something to eat. If not, you might be feeling bored or emotional, and don’t really need to eat anything. Take a breather, have a glass of water or sit in the sunshine for a few minutes to get your mind off food.
2. Stick to a schedule
A workday provides a strict routine, with eating occasions well-planned out: wake up, eat breakfast, go to work, have a lunch break, come home, eat dinner. But when you’re WFH (working from home, duh), your day isn’t so structured, and you’ve got endless opportunities to shovel food into your mouth.
To save yourself from grazing all day long, it will pay to stick to the same routine you have when you’re in the office – eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same time each day, and have just one or two healthy snacks between main meals.
3. Be prepared
Planning. Planning. Planning. When it comes to healthy eating, I cannot stress enough the importance of planning your meals and snacks. Before you do your groceries each week, it’s a wise idea to write yourself a meal plan, snacks included, and buy only what you need – rather than stock piling snack food just in case.
Throughout the week, you can then pre-portion your snacks each day and leave them in the fridge or pantry ready to go. If there’s no other option, you’ll only eat your planned snacks and won’t be tempted by anything else. It’s a win for your waistline and your hip pocket.
4. Eat the right foods
Your choice of snack is a real game changer when it comes to managing hunger. A snack that offers protein and/or fibre (think: a piece of fruit and a tub of yoghurt, a bunch of veggie sticks and hummus, a coffee and a handful of nuts) will fill you up and keep you feeling satisfied. Essentially, that’ll help you stay away from the pantry.
In contrast, a bag of chips, a few sweet biscuits or a row of chocolate offers quick-release carbs that quickly spike and crash your blood sugar, which fuels non-stop eating because you never really feel content.
5. Cut yourself some slack
In times like these, it’s important that you’re not too harsh on yourself. Uncertainty, paranoia and anxiety are at an all-time high for some – and it’s okay if you’ve turned to food for comfort once or twice. At the end of the day, we all eat too much every now and then, and it’s really no big deal.
Accept it, move on and forget about it.
Overeating only becomes a problem when it happens regularly – so if you find yourself in that situation more often than not, it might be time to get some help from your local dietitian.
Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based Accredited Practising Dietitian. You can connect with her at www.honestnutrition.com.au or on Instagram @honest_nutrition.
More essential coronavirus reading:
Read up on what the government lockdown means for you, understand why Aussie doctors are up arms, be aware of the ‘hidden symptom’ of COVID-19 carriers, prepare yourself for the long-term mental health effects of the pandemic, get your sweat on at home with these free online workouts before reviving your over-washed hands with this DIY balm, and then console yourself with these unexpected joys.