The social distancing required to stem the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has probably resulted in massive changes to your home and work routine. Stress, uncertainty and long periods stuck at home may have you snacking or grazing more throughout the day.
Indulging in snacks may feel like a good – and well-earned – way to cope. But this new eating pattern can lead to unwanted pounds, and that has long term consequences for your risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.
You may be more focused on your short-term health risks right now than the longer-term risks that come with weight gain. But making healthy food choices, watching portions and staying active during times of stress and uncertainty are good for your immunity, your overall health and your mood, right now.
Check out these tips to keep snacking in check:
Take regular breaks. Prolonged sitting is not good for your health – mental or physical. Get up from your work area at least once every hour. Move, stretch or get outside to reset and clear your head. This will help prevent using food to cope.
Drink more water. Staying well hydrated is essential for preventing cravings. Aim for nine-13 cups of water or other non-caffeinated liquids. Add lemon, orange or mint to make water more tasty.
Toss temptations. Don’t fool yourself. If you have junk in the house, you’re going to eat it. Get rid of temping foods to prevent getting off track.
Stock healthy snacks. Grocery stores may have limited selection right now, but try to stock up on healthy, nutrient-dense options. That means vegetables, fruit, nuts, whole grain crackers, low fat yogurt, popcorn and hardboiled eggs. And remember, limit trips to the grocery store to avoid exposure, shop alone to minimize crowds and wash your hands regularly and thoroughly.
Take a lunch break. Take a regular lunch break at a set time away from your desk. Focus on relaxing and enjoying your meal. Be sure to include a good source of protein and lots of fiber to help hold you throughout the rest of the day.
This may seem like the wrong time to exercise restraint. After all, conditions are difficult enough. But staying active and making healthy food choices can make a big difference in your morale.
Learn more about COVID-19 and MD Anderson's COVID-19 response.