Safe at Home: How to Slow Down the Snacking
By Sara Butler
As you transition to working from home, some things will take some getting used to, such as running a Zoom meeting from your kitchen or trying to balance the checkbook, the vacuuming, and the kids while they’re confined to the house. But one of the biggest hurdles to overcome will be “boredom eating.” Not because you don’t have things to do, but simply because each day is shaping up to be a lot like the one before it with no gym to go to, no socializing to be had, and or no “me time” to indulge.
Don’t let working from home (or home schooling from home) get you down; there are some rock-solid steps you and your family can take to ensure you keep boredom eating under control now that your kitchen has become your new office or classroom.
Grab Boredom by the Horns
When you get the urge to start going through the pantry for something to snack on, try to make it a habit to ask if you’re really hungry or simply bored? If you can admit that it’s due to boredom, then do something to help banish the boredom.
Maybe you should go for a walk or clean the kitchen sink. You could journal or take a look at your to-do list and check something off of it. Maybe you could create a clever or funny photo (including the kids if you have them) for your Twitter, Facebook or Instagram account. The key is to stop boredom in its tracks and do something instead of munching down on empty calories.
Another way to fight off unnecessary snacking is to make sure that you’re properly hydrated. Keep a bottle of water with you or make yourself a cup of tea. You can also experiment with adding different things to your water to make it more exciting such as lemon, herbs, or cut up fruit. Staying hydrated with these concoctions will make it less likely that you eat when you’re not truly hungry.
Create a Snack Plan
You plan out a lot of things in life, so make snacking one of them! After all, you know you’re going to snack between meals so you may as well make it a part of your day. In other words, make snacking a part of your game plan so you can make room for it in your overall eating plan.
Divvy up your favorite healthy snacks (nuts, carrots and hummus, popcorn, etc..) in snack-sized baggies to consume during your allotted snack time. Being able to tell yourself when your next snack is coming will help make it a little easier to cut unnecessary boredom snacking from your day.
Set Up a Snacking Zone
You mustn’t snack at your makeshift work-from-home station. Instead, take your snack to another part of the house to enjoy it. Doing something in front of a screen such as your computer or smartphone leads to mindless eating and that won’t help you to satisfy your snack cravings at all. Be present when you have your snack, enjoy it, and then go back to work/school.
Break Up Your Day
One of the most difficult things to do when you work from home is to give yourself the breaks that you would normally take when you were at work or school. If you want to be healthy and have the energy you need to get everything accomplished, then you must give yourself frequent breaks for your physical and psychological health.
This strategy can also keep you from snacking too much because, instead of breaking up the monotony of your workday by going to the refrigerator, you can take a scheduled break instead. Leave the room you’ve been working in, go outside if you can, stretch a little, and have a conversation with someone for fun. This small thing can help to ensure that you’re not trying to break up your day with snacks and keep you from mindless eating.
People are facing many challenges right now and there are many things we have no control over. Exert control in your life over the things you can -- such as snacking. It can help the world feel a little bit more normal and help you emerge from working from home in good health, both physically and mentally.
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