How to Avoid Stress Eating, Stay Healthy During Isolation

Having a healthy diet helps you maintain a robust immune system. While COVID-19 is going around the country, a strong immune system can help you safeguard against illness. But, when you’re stuck inside your home, boredom and stress can lead to overeating unhealthy foods. No one reaches for spinach when they want comfort food. But, if you take steps to avoid temptation and stay on track, you can keep to a proper diet, help your immune system and not gain weight. Here are some tips for sticking with good-for-you foods during this trying time.

We’ve spoken about the importance of sticking to your daily schedule to keep a sense of normality and a positive mindset. It’s also helpful if you are trying to stick to your healthy diet. If you usually don’t have snacks at your desk, or during your usual errands and social commitments, avoid them now. Eat at your normal mealtimes to stop yourself from becoming hungry. That can help you pass up snacks without feeling deprived and help you make healthy choices when you get hungry throughout the day.

Start the day with a healthy fiber-rich breakfast to stave off being peckish between meals. If you usually bring your lunch with you in the morning, continue packing it in the morning that way when you reach for lunch later, it’s the healthy meal you planned for yourself. This could be a perfect time to try out meal prepping. By making a lunch for a few days, you’ll know what supplies you have and keep your portions even. It can be a rewarding activity to try out now when you are stuck at home and then continue doing once life returns to normal.

Additionally, as you usually would, plan your meals ahead of going to the store. That can be hard with grocery stores running low on supplies. Make a list and order online either to be delivered or for pick up. If you are over 65, have a younger friend or family member to bring it to you.  Buy frozen or canned veggies. It will ensure you have plenty of produce even later in the week. Most stores are still filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, when you pick fresh produce pick veggies that have a longer fridge-life — like root vegetables. If you must go out and do the shopping for yourself, pick up what you need for the week and leave the snacks on the shelf. You can’t eat snacks you don’t have.

Spot why you’re eating more snacks than usual. If you are bored or procrastinating on a task, take a short break. It’s better to go and do the dishes or give a friend a check-in call than fill the time with food when you aren’t hungry. If it’s stress, turn off the news or step away from social media and do something you find soothing. A short walk around your house or reading a book can make you calmer and feel better in the long term than sugar.

If you are working from home, avoid working at the kitchen table. Every foot between you and the pantry helps you avoid mindless eating. If you have to get up and go to a completely different room to get a snack. You have the walk to actually consider if you are actually hungry.

When life returns to normal, and we resume our regular patterns and schedules, it will be easy to stick to our health goals if we haven’t gone off track. While we’re stuck inside and away from family and friends, we should all remind ourselves of our long-term plans and keep working toward our health and happiness.
March 26, 2020
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