Healthy Snacking During COVID-19
For many people around the world, life has completely changed in the wake of the coronavirus. When you’re stressed and bored in isolation, this is the perfect recipe for heading a few steps to the kitchen often for mindless snacking. So, what are the best ways to feed yourself in-between during quarantine? Keep reading for tips about healthy snacking during COVID. Let’s find out about the most nutritious and best snacks for these uncertain times.
Table of Contents
- Consistency in Meals
- Tune into your hunger cues
- Mindful Eating
- Avoid mindless snacking
- Nuts and Dried Fruits
- Other Healthy Options for Healthy Snacking During COVID
- Keep healthy during these uncertain times
Consistency in Meals
Your entire routine has probably been turned upside down in the wake of the coronavirus. Perhaps you are working from home for the first time, or maybe you have a child, and they have been out of school since the very beginning of the pandemic. Life has been very different since social distancing and quarantine started, but mealtimes could and should remain the same, even if life is off-balance during these uncertain times.
Although the temptation might be the snack all day on a box of cheese crackers or chips instead of eating real food, please don’t do it. You want to avoid the urge to skip meals or limit eating them. Skipping meals or restricting foods leads to overeating in the long run. This over-eating then leads to guilt and shame. It’s a vicious cycle that can occur again and again but can be fixed by enjoying nutritious snacks and meals. Meals should contain a mix of healthy fats, carbohydrates, protein, and vegetables. This mix will ensure that you are left satisfied after every meal.
Experts say that during meals, we should limit saturated and solid fats while eliminating as much trans fat as we can from our foods. If we can resist the temptation to eat from places like McDonald’s while we’re in quarantine, that is great too. It’s great to stay home and socially distant, but it cuts down on trans fats, refined grains, and a lot of sodium from salt. Many of us get too much sodium from salt in our diets. Too much sodium raises the chances of high blood pressure and kidney disease.
The benefit of consistency in meals
If you start downsizing to what is considered healthy portions, your body will, too. As a child, you might have been told to clean your plate. The problem is that dinner plates have progressively gotten bigger over the years. With this, so has the amount of food we eat on them. For easy portion control, feed off of smaller plates during meal times like a luncheon or salad plate. Don’t go back for seconds, but instead, immediately put portions up for later meals. You can store leftovers in single-serving containers for quick meals.
Tune into your hunger cues
Imagine your body’s hunger as a sliding scale between 1-10. Ten would be the most full you could feel, so full you are almost sick to your stomach. Typically, you aim to experience somewhere between a 4-7 on your scale of hunger. If at any time you feel slightly hungry, then, by all means, eat. You should be able to get to a place where you are not hungry but are comfortably satisfied. A great exercise is to rate your hunger before, during, and after each snack and meal.
If you find yourself eating when you’re not hungry, dig deep to find out what else could be going on. Are you feeling anxious or sad? Are you merely bored? While it’s natural to eat for reasons other than hunger, remember that this leads to weight gain. Remember that there are always different activities available, even when you have to socially distance in the wake of the coronavirus, to eating. You can take a socially-distant walk around your neighborhood, catch up with a friend on a Zoom call, catch up on your favorite Netflix series, or have a dance party in your house. Do whatever brings you joy!
According to experts, mindful eating is the practice of being aware of what you put into your body while observing, rather than judging how the food makes you feel. Your body then gives you cues about the food’s taste, satisfaction, and fullness of your stomach. When practicing mindful eating, you accept the observations you have about each time you eat. These observations then carry over to the process of buying, preparing, and serving your food as well as consuming it.
Mindful eating is not all about rules, when or where you can eat, or how many calories you may consume. Instead, it’s about focusing your senses while being present to become attuned to your body as you prepare and consume food. Mindfulness isn’t for everyone. However, some have found that by giving it a try for a bit, that they can learn to avoid overeating while enjoying a better mental and physical state.
How to practice mindful eating
To practice mindful eating, start with short, five-minute periods and work up from there, gradually. Remember that you can begin mindful eating when making a shopping list for the grocery store or browsing a menu for a restaurant. You would carefully evaluate each item to add to your list or from the menu.
To start, take a few breaths while considering the health value of each food item you are considering. Use all of your senses while shopping for, cooking, serving, and finally eating your food. Be curious about your food and your surroundings while you eat, as well as the experience. Tune into your hunger scale before, after, and during the meal. Please take a moment to appreciate the food while it’s in front of you. Then, notice how the food feels in your mouth. Focus on how the experience of dining shifts from moment to moment, and put your utensils down between bites of food. Finally, give thanks to where this meal came from and continue to eat slowly as you savor the meal experience.
Avoid mindless snacking
Now that we’ve covered mindful eating, it’s pretty clear that we can talk about how damaging mindless snacking is. Expert dieticians stress that munching on snacks straight out of the bag while hanging out watching tv or working is the winning key to overeating.
Instead of grabbing a massive bag of chips and zoning out, why not snack smart while portioning your snacks ahead of time? This planning will turn this activity into something you can feel good about by reducing the instinct to grab whatever is in front of you. When it’s snack time, eliminate the distractions around you, get comfortable, and enjoy your food. Remember to keep checking in with your hunger scale throughout the experience.
Instead of watching your favorite tv show while you eat your snack, why don’t you promise yourself that you’ll watch it after you are done with it? Another good idea is to find a particular time to set the alarm on your phone that says when you should eat and take a break from your day. It would be best if you were aiming to get a healthy snack or meal every three hours. Even if you only sat down for five minutes at a time during these breaks, you would be less likely to indulge in mindless snacking at other times, according to experts.
How to stop mindless snacking
When you’re looking to eat less as you snack, science says that having fewer varieties of snack options can help you. Research shows that more snacking choices can lead to up to 23% more overeating. This idea is called “sensory-specific satiety” by experts. In this theory, your senses get numb after you’ve been exposed to the same flavors so many times in a row. To make sensory-specific satiety work for you, experts recommend limiting your choices in snacking.
Researchers have found that the phrase “out of sight, out of mind” applies to snack habits. Researchers believe that regularly seeing food pushes you to decide whether to eat it consciously. Seeing it more often increases the chances you’ll choose to eat the food. To make this concept work in your favor, hide unhealthy treats in your home while keeping nutritious snacks visible and readily available.
Make sure that you remain hydrated throughout the day, nutritionists also recommend. Your liquid intake is right for your overall hydration, but it will help in your overall feeling of fullness. Take a sip of water before you take every bite of food. Also, bathroom breaks allow time to reconsider your hunger in between meals.
During snack breaks, nutritionists recommend that you skip the utensils, as this method helps to engage all of your senses while improving your meal memory, helping us go back to the concept of mindful eating. What’s even better, say, dieticians, is to use your non-dominant hand while snacking, so that you can pay better attention to what you are eating and how you are enjoying your snacking experience.
Nuts and Dried Fruits
There are some great snacking options to bolster your health in between meals during quarantine and even after. Nuts are always a great snack for so many reasons. Walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, and peanuts are an excellent fix for a quick burst of energy. The same goes for dried fruits. They can also boost your immunity while curbing cravings to junk food, so it’s worth grabbing a handful next time you’re looking for something to munch on.
Nuts and dried fruits are healthy for the body, and they’re also suitable for storage. Research says that nuts are known to last about four months when kept at or near room temperature. Seeds also have comparable shelf lives. The USDA says that pumpkin seeds stay fresh for six months at room temperature.
Other Healthy Options for Healthy Snacking During COVID
Fresh fruits are an excellent alternative to sweets while you’re stuck in your home. They’re powerhouses of vitamins and minerals. Fruits like papayas, watermelons, kiwis, and oranges are also packed full of vitamin C, which is fantastic for the immune system.
While you’re checking out the fruit section of the grocery store, consider adding it to some yogurt. Yogurt is known to contain good bacteria for gut health while promoting the stomach system’s healthy functioning.
Instead of drinking copious amounts of coffee with sugar, try drinking plain, hot green tea. It has the power, according to experts, to boost your energy levels, pump up your metabolism, and detox your immune system. It’s also great for a sore throat and makes you feel better if you develop any colds or summer sinus infections.
Keep healthy during these uncertain times
A clean, healthy diet full of the nutrients and vitamins your body craves will help get you through quarantine in top shape while preparing you for life after with ease. At Gourmet Nuts and Dried Fruit, we are stocked full of healthy snacking options to make eating well during these uncertain times a breeze for you and your family.
Studies have shown that as obesity rates increase, nuts may offer nutritional benefits to help control body weight. Several studies have found that frequent consumption of nuts won’t increase body mass index. Long-term consumption of nuts in studies has been linked with a lower body weight gain.
Eating nuts regularly may also help with the risk of type two diabetes. Research suggests that dried fruit consumption is also suitable for people who have diabetes. A study conducted by Louisville Metabolic and Atherosclerotic Research Center found something interesting. Consuming raisins as an alternative to processed snacks then resulted in a significant 23% reduction in glucose levels for those consuming.
In quarantine, it might be effortless to get off of a regular bowel schedule. Dried fruits are well-known sources of fiber, and could quickly help you with this issue. According to research, consuming around four ounces of prunes daily promotes regular digestion while providing more than 19% of your daily recommended intake of fiber. There is also scientific evidence suggesting that prunes may improve stool frequency and consistency in constipation cases.
Staying healthy and happy during these uncertain times is easy if you take care of your body and mind. If you do so, the next journey after transitioning out of quarantine will be effortless. We all have so much to look forward to, and we look forward to getting through it together.