How to manage snacking from your home office for the epidemic

Some of us may enjoy more home-cooked meals and not have to walk long distances for a snack, but working near the refrigerator is a challenge to maintain healthy eating habits. Rest assured, there are ways to cut down on mindless snacking and satiation with empty calories, even when you can’t socially distance from your kitchen cupboard.

After years of giving nutrition advice, I see my clients’ judgment of their food intake as a great predictor of future behaviors. If you berate yourself for overeating, it can cause you to slide into a downward spiral of feeling bad, which can lead to more emotional eating. On the flip side, being kind to yourself can help you form a healthier mindset when it comes to indulging, and this can allow for a more balanced lifestyle.

I have found that incorporating mindfulness strategies around eating – which are not related to judgment – can be very beneficial for those who struggle with “unconscious” eating. Here are some practical tips that can help you cut down on unnecessary snacking and get the most out of your food.

Before getting a cookie or bag of chips, stop and ask yourself, “Do I really want this now?” or “Do I crave this food because I’m hungry or am I bored or stressed?” Think about it well – if you want a snack, go for it. But if your answer is no, you have prevented yourself from excessive nibbling. The idea is to make a conscious decision to eat.

The Hunger Scale is a tool that includes a “stop, think, and eat” strategy that allows you to stop and measure your hunger level before eating. If you’re looking for a snack but realize you’re not really hungry, you might be craving something else, according to Wendy Sterling, RD, co-author of How to Feed Your Child Through Eating Disorders. Try going for a walk, taking a shower, calling a friend, or taking a nap.

Fill your kitchen with high-fiber foods

It is very difficult to eat high-fiber foods like vegetables, salads, and fruits without thinking. That’s because fiber contributes “too much” and fills you up quickly. High-fiber foods also help keep blood sugar levels steady, which helps prevent snacking and overeating at meals.

Fresh salad with feta cheese, olives and capers is rich in fiber, which helps to feel full and reduce cravings for snacks.

Don’t bring it home

The decisions you make at the point of purchase highly predict your ability to stay on track. Simply put, if you bring it home, you will eat it. If you don’t want to derail your diet goals, leave out snacks that will sabotage your efforts in the grocery aisle.

Practice portion control

When choosing snacks, avoid bulky bags that easily allow for mindless nibbling. Go for prepackaged snacks, or if you want to buy larger bags, split your homemade snacks into smaller bags or containers.

Set meal and snack times. It is important, especially when working from home, to stop and take a break to eat. Better yet, plan in advance what you’ll eat for lunch or for a snack. Honoring food breaks will help you avoid cravings and will give more organization to the day. It will also help you avoid nervous biting during stressful work.

Deliberate immersion plan

Similar to meal planning, you can plan a splurge. I often think of these indulgences in connection with birthday parties or dinner parties (think of a piece of spoiled chocolate cake), but even during everyday situations, planning dessert can help reduce preoccupation with sweets and prevent overeating. If you’re craving chocolate, leave a few Hershey’s kisses on after lunch. If you love pizza, enjoy it once a week for lunch or dinner. This can help reduce obsessive thoughts about these foods as well, because you have allowed yourself to enjoy them.
Hello Margherita Pizza.  Treating yourself on a weekly basis will prevent you from obsessing over forbidden foods.

Eat at the table, not at your desk

Creating a space to enjoy meals and snacks can help you avoid unconscious eating. Find a table, island, or wherever you want to eat and mark it as the dining area in the house. Eat slowly and savor every bite. Pay attention to the flavors and textures of foods to get the most enjoyment out of your meals.

Get rid of distractions

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Scrolling through social media or watching Netflix while you eat takes the focus away from your food and prevents you from recording when you’re full. In fact, people who played solitaire on the computer while eating faster ate nearly twice as much and felt less full than people who weren’t distracted while eating, according to a study that registered dietitian Lisa Young cited in her book Finally Full, Finally Skinny. “. Put away all screens, phones, and anything that prevents you from being around while eating.

Close the kitchen

Decide when the kitchen will be “closed all day,” turn off the lights and lock any doors. This can be very helpful in avoiding nibbling during the night.

Other tips worth trying

Here are some other tips that can help you with mindless snacking:

Take a tea break

Sipping tea can also help reduce cravings for tea. “Drinking herbal tea with a little honey provides great speed; it makes you think for a minute about a snack or meal that might not be necessary,” registered dietitian Bonnie Top-Dix previously told CNN.
A warm cup of herbal tea can give you an afternoon boost.

Keep a food and mood diary

Writing down what you eat and how you feel at the time can help you identify triggers and reduce your snack rush. Plus, writing down your daily diet at the beginning of each day can give you more organization and keep you on track.

Get enough sleep

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A recent study showed that not getting enough sleep can cause us to consume up to 800 extra calories. It is thought that sleep deprivation may cause our hormones to stimulate hunger and/or suppress hormone signals associated with fullness. Aim to sleep seven to nine hours each night.

You can take these 12 tips gradually by working two or more strategies into your routine each week. This approach will help you eat more mindfully.


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