When you’re stuck at home with nothing to do, it’s easy to keep reaching for food due to boredom. While there isn’t anything wrong with snacking, doing so without listening to your body’s hunger cues (aka eating solely due to boredom!) can result in you feeling bloated, overstuffed and lethargic.
With that in mind, here are some guidelines for ensuring your meal choices during these weeks (or months) of quarantine remain balanced, healthy and mindful of your hunger cues!
Whether you’re making a full meal or just grabbing a quick snack, it’s important to make your plate balanced! Reaching for just a piece of fruit won’t leave you satisfied for long, so make sure to include a fat or protein (such as Greek yogurt, nuts or cheese) with your snack. A great option is an apple with almond butter if you’re looking for a sweet and creamy treat.
Listen to your body! Learn to recognize when your body is demanding food because it needs energy and when you’re craving food because of boredom. It’s OK to indulge every once in a while, but constantly eating due to boredom does more harm than good in the long run — try avoiding boredom by engaging in another activity, such as going for a walk outside, doing yoga, catching up on schoolwork, reading or painting!
Be mindful about your portions. Eating five or six smaller meals a day has been shown to be great for stimulating your metabolism. So, try to aim for smaller, more frequent meals! One approach is to make a large portion of your favorite healthy dish and separate it into smaller portions to eat throughout the day. If you’re really bored, take the time to make tiny portions of a bunch of appetizing dishes. You’ll stay entertained and get some tasty snacks. The key is portion size.
In the end, it’s also important to remember not to feel guilty about snacking! These times are stressful, so obsessing over what you eat isn’t great either. It’s normal to be in a food funk or feel like your routine has gone astray. Try striking a balance between mindful eating and indulgence, and remember that treating yourself in moderation is always a good thing!