Author: Brianna Newton, iTrackBites Coach
We are definitely living through a unique time in history. No matter where you live, chances are high that you have been impacted in some way by COVID-19 and the subsequent quarantines.
If you’re anything like me, grocery shopping hasn’t been “normal” for weeks, one or more of your household incomes has been decreased or stopped altogether, and suddenly you’re finding yourself with A LOT of time at home. Your schedule is out of whack, or you don’t have a schedule at all. Meals that normally would have been planned in advance, prepped, and packed, are now left until last minute… forcing you to “quick make lunch”, aka probably not all that healthy.
If you’re home with your kids, you’re probably in and out of your kitchen ALL. DAY. LONG. which means YOU are in the kitchen way more than normal. Around all that snack food. You are not alone! I have definitely “fallen victim” to boredom snacking. And I say that in quotes because we all know we aren’t actually a “victim” to our bad food choices, right? We actually have a say in what we eat and how we handle our nutrition. That’s easy to forget, though!
So how do we take back control? How do we set up our days in a way that HELPS our weight loss journey rather than tank it? Here are 8 ways you can take back control over your snacking habits and get back on track with your weight loss journey:
1. Schedule in Snack Times
Chances are your daily schedule looks nothing like it did pre-coronavirus. Creating a schedule at least for your meals and snacks will help give your day just enough structure to keep yourself on track. I use the Sugar Smart plan to keep track of my food so the first thing I do is pre-track my meals and snacks, then I decide what time they will happen. It helps me say no to snacks as I walk in and out of the kitchen because I know at 10:00am and 3:00pm I’ll have the snacks I already tracked in my app.
2. Shop Smart
There is no better time to shop smart (aka avoiding junk food) than now! If you don’t buy it, you can’t eat it. You’re probably watching your budget which is a great way to cut out unnecessary food. You may also be ordering your groceries online via a delivery service. Getting your groceries delivered is an AMAZING way to shop smart. Have a good meal or nutritious snack before you order your food and your impulse buying will decrease to almost zero!
Chugging at least 8oz of water before all meals and snacks is one of my favorite ways to a) pre-fill myself a little bit and b) give myself a moment to decide if I really want that snack or not. In the time it takes you to drink that water, you can mentally pause and ask yourself, “Am I really hungry or am I bored? If I am hungry, is this the best choice for me?”. Check yo self.
4. Focus on Nutrient Dense Snacks
There is nothing more frustrating than eating a meal or snack and then almost immediately feeling hungry again. Like, what on earth? Chances are, that is because you did not eat foods that were nutrient dense or you need more protein. Some of my favorite filling snacks are: apples and nut butter, carrots and hummus, Quest protein bars, Premier Protein drinks, and turkey pepperoni. Upping your snack game will help control your hunger in the long run. You’ll feel more energized and you’ll be snacking with purpose! Hint: the purpose is nourishment, not entertainment.
5.Stock Up on Low Cal Options
These days, stocking up (not hoarding) is the name of the game! Figure out two or three of your favorite low calorie, easy snacks and stock up on a few weeks worth to have around. Here’s the alternative: You buy just one container of your favorite healthy snack and a few days later *gasp* it’s all gone! Then it dawns on you.. other creatures live in the same house with you all day long and it’s getting harder to hide “your special snacks”. So be sure to buy plenty! This way you won’t be tempted to grab less healthy options you may have around when you run out.
6.Capitalize on Zero Bite/Point Foods
As I mentioned earlier, I follow Sugar Smart to keep my eating in check. This particular plan has a decent amount of “zero bite” (zero point) foods such as fruits and veggies and some fun alternatives like sugar free Jell-o with fat free Reddi Whip. I always make sure I’m eating a good amount of these zero bite foods a day, especially the fruits and veggies, to help curb my hunger and save my bites/points for my main meals. As a wise friend once said to me, “If you’re not hungry enough to eat raw carrots, you’re not really hungry!”
7. Create New Habits
Creating new habits to replace snacking habits is an excellent tool we all have in our toolbox! If you can start to recognize when that snacking urge is ramping up, try redirecting yourself to a new habit. This could be 5 minutes of light stretching, meditation, cleaning, folding laundry, even dancing with your kiddos. This is one way we can retrain our brains if we have “fallen victim” to boredom snacking.
8. Never Make Food a Reward
And finally, because we always need this reminder… Never, ever make food a reward. Food has one purpose: to nourish your body. You to not deserve an unhealthy snack (or a healthy snack that matter) because you finished a chore or exercised. You do not “get to indulge” because you had a rough day. We plan for snacks, we plan for indulgences, and in doing so we retain control over our nutrition. Choosing the right food is one of the biggest ways we take care of our bodies so treat it as such! If you’re finding you need to set rewards during your day for various tasks, there are plenty of non-food options! Maybe saving up towards a new fancy kitchen appliance, 10 minutes of “me time” scrolling your social media in peace, or buying a new book.
I hope these 8 strategies will come in handy for you and will help you control your snacking while you’re home (all. day. long.) If you need more support to help you make it through the day without snacking, head to the Community in the iTrackBites app!