How many times do you find yourself munching on snacks just because they’re there or grabbing a treat from the kitchen cabinet because you don’t have anything else to do? Most of us find ourselves reaching for a snack or mindlessly munching when we’re bored at one time or another even when we’re not hungry. It’s not unusual, but when it becomes a regular habit it can lead to unhealthy consequences, including obesity.
If you find yourself eating when you’re bored on too many occasions or are noticing increased weight gain, there are strategies to help you squash the habit of snacking out of boredom. Addressing your diet, emotions and behavioral habits hold the key.
Follow these tips to help you only eat at mealtime or when you’re hungry:
1. Have a Meal Plan
Meal planning can help people avoid overeating and making unhealthy food choices. When you prepare the meals and snacks you plan to consume for the day in advance, it’s much easier to stay on track with your eating habits and stay satiated throughout the day, which makes you less likely to reach for a cookie or two out of boredom.
2. Track Your Food
Keeping track of the foods you eat throughout the day and the number of calories, carbs and sugars you’re consuming will help you become more mindful of what you’re eating and when. Use a food diary or find an app to easily log your meals and snacks. If you begin to notice any unhealthy patterns or that you’re consuming too many calories, adjust your food intake accordingly.
3. Balance Your Blood Sugar
Balancing blood sugar helps to regulate energy levels. Dips in energy could trigger eating out of boredom. Eat regular meals throughout the day, being sure to choose foods that don’t cause blood sugar spikes like apples, peanut butter, carrots, nuts and blueberries. Avoid foods high in carbohydrates which digest quickly signaling the brain to eat again.
4. Eat at the Table and Always Use a Plate
Eating in front of the television or at the computer when you’re bored, is a surefire way to overeat. Having a dedicated space for eating, like the kitchen table, is important. You are more aware of the foods you are consuming when there are no distractions. Likewise, using a plate every time you eat will help you keep your portions in check rather just grabbing snacks straight from the bag.
Exercise releases endorphins and chemicals, such as serotonin, in your body, which help to alleviate anxiety and stress. When a person feels better, they’re less likely to eat our boredom. Exercise also affects appetite hormones, making you less likely to overeat.
6. Fill Up on Nutritious and Filling Snacks
Consuming filling snacks in between meals will leave you less likely to continue to reach into the chip bag when you’re feeling bored. When your body’s satisfied, you’ll be less likely to search the kitchen when you don’t have a lot to do. Make snacks high in protein, fiber and water a regular part of your diet. Eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt, popcorn and berries are all great choices.
This week plan your activities, shopping list and menu in advance in order to help avoid mindless eating when you’re bored. Browse Stevita’s products to add some low calorie, low carb, healthy items to your pantry.