Many coming out of quarantine or stay-at-home orders have discovered they have gained a few pounds due to sitting around with nothing to do but eat. For those of us at home finding ourselves stuck on the couch with a bag of chips, here are some helpful tips to stop snacking now:
Change Your Mind
Before we can stop stuffing junk food into our mouths, we must first change our mindset. If we are feeling sad, we often eat to make ourselves feel better. When we are feeling celebratory, we often convince ourselves that we’ve earned a treat. Likewise, when we are feeling bored, we often eat to fill the time. Before reaching for that next unhealthy snack, stop and think! Ask, why am I eating this?
Healthy Is Within Reach
We tend to grab what is available, so stock the pantry with healthy foods instead of junk. It’s just as easy to grab a bowl full of chips as it is to grab and peel a banana. If we have a healthy option in front of us that is easy to reach to eat, it will be easier to opt for a healthy snack instead when given a choice. One way to make this even easier is to start at the beginning of the week and cut celery and carrot pieces to store in the fridge for easy grabbing, have nuts within reach and set out bowls full of ripe, fresh fruit to make it more appealing.
If snacking can’t be avoided, choose foods that contain tryptophan. This essential amino acid helps the body make proteins that help signal the brain to make serotonin which relaxes us and makes us feel happier. In addition to turkey, foods that make us feel good include bananas, nuts, salmon, seeds, and eggs.
Cook Wholesome Meals
Cook wholesome meals that leave you feeling satisfied and full with no need to snack in between. Choose to cook meals rich in protein and lean in fat. Add plenty of vegetables and fruits. It’s helpful to prepare a meal plan at the start of each week. Prepare healthy meals ahead of time, and freeze them. If you have a freezer filled with healthy meals, all you need to do is remember to put it down to thaw before heating.
Drink a lot of water or herbal tea to hydrate the body and make you feel full. Another way to feel full is to enjoy the proper amount of liquids throughout the day. If water seems too bland, interchange herbal teas. Aim for about eight glasses of 8 oz. Water every day, or fill up a gallon container and watch the water level go down throughout the day to know you’ve had enough to satisfy feelings of an empty stomach.