Being home can make it too easy to reach for junk food snacks.
Sticking to healthy snacking habits can be challenging when working from home and often seeking comfort in food. Yet, good nutrition is particularly important now when we need to keep our immune system strong.
Olga Hays, an American Council on Exercise-certified wellness promotion specialist at Sharp HealthCare, shares these five tips on ways to snack smart while at home:
- If you are teleworking, don’t work in (or near) the kitchen.Unlimited access to food is a perfect recipe for mindless snacking. If possible, try to set up your workspace away from the kitchen to avoid temptation to wander over and check the fridge.
- Plan your snack times.Just like you plan your daily activities (waking up, showering and exercising), establish times when you are going to have your snacks and stick with them. Knowing that your snack time is coming up can help prevent mindless grazing.
- Follow hunger cues.Sometimes you turn to snacks for reasons other than hunger. It is important to listen to your hunger cues to determine if you are actually hungry or if something else is going on. Skip the urge to snack when you are bored, anxious, stressed or tired. Instead, go for a walk, take a nap or call a friend to talk about your emotions. Getting your feelings out can help curb emotional snacking.
- Be mindful of portion sizes.When you are ready for your pre-planned snack, do not eat out of a bag or original container. Portion your snacks before eating. If you need guidance, check the serving size on the original packaging. When you are ready to enjoy your snack, avoid any distractions — sit down and just eat. Eating snacks straight out of the bag while watching TV, scrolling through social media or working is a recipe for overeating.
- Choose healthy snacks.Aim for fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats to stay satisfied and full. Limit chips, candy, cake and cookies; these snacks can leave you sluggish and hungry shortly after eating.
Hays suggests these healthy snacks:
- Apple slices with peanut butter
- Plain low-fat or fat-free yogurt with berries
- Whole-grain crackers with canned tuna or salmon
- Air-popped popcorn
- Sliced fruit
- Low-fat string cheese
- Baby carrots and hummus
- Handful of trail mix (roasted nuts and dried fruit)
“Staying at home has become a way of living for many of us, but even with few and limited ingredients, we can continue eating a diet that supports good health,” says Hays. “And please cut yourself some slack if you do overindulge once in a while. This is an unprecedented time, so have unprecedented kindness toward yourself.”