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It’s always difficult to stop yourself from snacking out of boredom, but it’s even harder now that you’re stuck at home because of the Coronavirus.
Healthy snacking isn’t a problem, and indulging in some comfort food during stressful times is normal. However, it’s important not to overdo it.
Overeating can actually negatively impact your stress levels and your health.
It’s important to recognize boredom eating and to find ways to limit it.
Here are 6 ways to prevent boredom eating.
1. Eat full, healthy meals
The first and most important step is to actually give your body the nutrients it needs.
You might be having some food here and there and not sticking to a meal schedule. Or you could be having regular but super light meals. In these cases, it’s normal for your body to have some snacking urges.
If you stick to three balanced and healthy meals a day and get in all of your macronutrients, the snacking urges will be reduced.
Take this extra time to meal prep or at least plan out your meals so that you always have a healthy meal on hand. Meal planning has been associated with a healthier diet and less obesity!
You can check out this article which includes the right foods to eat during these times.
2. Remove temptation
If your pantry is filled with super tempting snacks, you’re bound to give in sooner or later. It’s even worse if you can actually see the snacks.
You should have some healthy snack options on hand, of course (more on that later), but keep the processed ones to a minimum.
Highly processed foods will give you instant gratification and a boost of energy, but likely won’t last very long.
You’re less likely to binge on celery sticks with hummus than on warm, chewy cookies. There’s nothing wrong with having a cookie once in a while of course, but it’s better to actually enjoy it than to just eat it mindlessly out of boredom.
3. Fight the boredom
Staying inside all day can definitely become boring, and we all know that eating is a great way to fight the boredom.
However, it’s very important to find other ways to stay busy.
Now’s the perfect time to get your home organized, learn a new skill, pick up a hobby you’ve always wanted to do, call your family and friends…
Make a list of all of your options, and pick something to do from there whenever you feel bored. Sometimes, we feel like we know our activity options, but we don’t really realize all the things we can actually do until we write them down.
You can also find some ideas online. This can be a place to start.
I also suggest finding a specific activity that you always love doing, even if you are tired/hungry/stressed. This should be your go-to thing when you feel overwhelming boredom coming along, but nothing on your list sounds good.
4. Practice mindful eating
When you’re eating out of boredom, chances are you aren’t really focusing on your food.
This can cause you to overlook your hunger and satiety cues and overeat. If you don’t fully concentrate on your meal, you’re less likely to acknowledge these cues and more likely to snack later on.
Try to practice mindful eating, which is a technique used to regain control over your eating habits. Its goal is to focus your attention on the present experience, to create a connexion between body and mind while eating.
This can enable you to listen to what your body needs, to know when you are hungry and when you are full. Read this article if you want to know more about how to eat mindfully and the health benefits of mindful eating.
5. Try these little tricks
You can also try some of these little tricks:
- Make yourself a cup of hot tea to occupy your hands and distract yourself from eating.
- Brush your teeth: firstly, this will distract you, and secondly, the minty fresh taste will dissuade you from eating afterward.
- Chew some gum: similarly, this will dissuade you from eating and give you some chewing to do.
- Drink water throughout the day. Being dehydrated can sometimes feel like hunger. Make sure that you are drinking plenty of water. You can go for sparkling water or add some fruit to switch it up.
6. Give in to a healthy snack
Sometimes, you can try all of the tricks you want to fight it, but you’re still going to be hungry. In this case, having a snack is no problem at all.
Just make it healthy and filling enough to last until your next meal.
You can have some veggies (celery, cucumber, carrots…) dipped in hummus or some fruit (apples, bananas, berries…) with peanut butter. You can spread nut butter on sourdough or whole wheat bread, make yourself a bowl of oats with plant milk and fruit, or even try a healthy recipe: these no-cook energy balls sound delicious, for example!
It’s important to honor your hunger cues: if you really feel like you’re experiencing physical hunger and not boredom, then enjoying a healthy snack is a must!
How to prevent boredom eating in conclusion
With what is happening in the world right now, you may find yourself reaching for food just to pass the time.
Eating healthy snacks when you are hungry is absolutely fine, and indulging in comfort foods during stressful times is normal.
However, frequent overeating can also have an impact on your well-being and health. Make sure to eat full healthy meals, find activities to fight the boredom, eat mindfully, and remove unnecessary temptation.
This will prevent boredom eating and help you stay healthy!
If you’re interested in nutrition, its impact on our health, and the science behind it, you should definitely read How Not to Die. In this book, Doctor Michael Greger, founder of Nutrition Facts, examines the top causes of death in America and explains how your diet can prevent— and in some cases even reverse— them. His advice is all backed by science and he writes in a very clear and entertaining way. This book isn’t a list of what you already know. It will teach you the keys to living a long healthy life, in a simple and practical way, and without spending fortunes on supplements and pills!
PLUS if you want to take it a step further, you can check out the How Not to Die Cookbook to implement the advice easily!
It can be hard to find the right balance between healthy eating and dieting without becoming obsessed with food.
You’ve certainly heard about the anti-inflammatory diet before and the benefits it could have on your body.