Have you already eaten all of your lockdown treats? Are you constantly snacking because you’re bored?
Self-isolating at home may be helping to “flatten the curve” and reduce the spread of COVID-19, but many of us may actually be increasing our own curves in ways which are not so good for our health! Now we are working from home as well as sleeping, entertaining, schooling and exercising from home, we have 24/7 access to the fridge and pantry,
Whether through stress, boredom or just pure temptation, many Australians in lockdown are finding that they are overeating – indulging in comfort foods, constantly grazing and snacking, and eating more processed, refined foods and less natural, wholesome foods.
While a little indulgence is completely normal, particularly during extraordinary circumstances like these, don’t make these unhealthy habits your new norm. Poor eating, overeating and irregular eating can all take a toll on your mental and physical health and well-being.
Here are our top 10 tips for ensuring you don’t adopt bad eating habits during lockdown:
- Lunchtime in lockdown – if you’re used to taking a healthy, homemade lunch to work – continue making them in advance. This ensures they are healthy and portion-controlled and you are not tempted by less healthy alternatives.
- Remove temptation – keep snacks out of sight. Put any appealing foods such as lollies, biscuits and chocolate away.
- Prepare healthy snacks – keep a container of raw vegetable fingers, hummus, salsa and cut fruit ready to go in the fridge.
- Keep to your normal meal schedules – eat breakfast at the usual time, as if you were leaving home and travelling to work each day. Stop for lunch at the same time.
- Be mindful when you eat – Think about your food and enjoy it rather than munching away mindlessly. Pay attention to what you’re eating and take the time to eat it slowly. This helps with portion control and prevents overeating. Remove distractions and don’t eat at your desk.
- Connect with your body cues – using the hunger and fullness scale, rate yourself from 0 (empty) to 10 (intense fullness). Am I actually hungry? When did I last eat? Am I just bored? Ask yourself these questions whenever you open the fridge or pantry.
- Count your coffees – it is very easy to slide into an increased caffeine habit when working from home, particularly if there is a good espresso machine in the house. Set caffeine boundaries and drink more water to increase your hydration.
- Try new recipes – experiment, discover new foods and flavours and bring out your inner Master Chef. Just remember that it doesn’t have to be baked goods, desserts and treats. Take this time to teach your children to cook.
- Date night at home -can’t go out for dinner during lockdown? Get dressed up, set the table and order home delivery. Don’t feel like you’re missing out and being deprived.
- Monitor your alcohol consumption – when weekdays blur into weekends and you rarely need to drive anywhere, it’s very easy to slip into the habit of drinking in isolation to reward yourself and unwind from the day. Again, stick to your normal behavioural patterns and don’t adopt new, unhealthy habits.