There is a new concern competing with this current virus pandemic. Coined “The Quarantine Fifteen,” this highly aggressive contagion spreads as we stay at home, stress-eating and panic-snacking. We talk about needing to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 virus by staying at home, but we risk growing our own curves if we obey. Below are four tips on maintaining a healthy diet and weight while staying home.
Test Your Hunger
Some of us may have less to do during this season. Boredom can lead to false hunger cues. We want something to make us happy or keep us busy and snacks whisper their temptations from their hidden spots in the pantry and the back of the fridge. Make sure you are hungry before eating. Switch activities, keep yourself busy, or go for a walk. Spend fifteen minutes distracting yourself and then check back in. If you are still hungry, go on and grab that snack. If you are not, then you just successfully repelled a false hunger cue!
Use this time of quarantine to invest in your cooking skills. Staying at home for your meals is safer anyways. You do not have to touch anything that someone else has and risk contracting the virus. Instead, plan on cooking healthy recipes and have some fun with it. Your waistline will benefit from an increase of home cooked meals. You know exactly what is going into the food you are eating, no mystery oils or extra calories.
Plan Out Your Snacks
If you know what you are going to eat next, you will be far less likely to give into the cheesy, greasy, guilty snacks. When you do leave the house to go to the grocery store, pack your cart with healthy, protein-packed snacks. Don't shop hungry. Sub out the tortilla chips and salsa for carrot chips and hummus. Instead of ranch dip, try a greek yogurt parfait. You can gauge how healthy you eat and beat “The Quarantine Fifteen” by stocking your home with smarter snacking ammunition.
Limit Your Sugar
Eating sugar can spike your blood sugar and leave you more hungry than you were before you started eating. Swap your sugary cereal for a whole-grain granola. Fruit is good, but pair it with a healthy fat or protein to help slow down the sugar’s absorption. For example, snack on an apple and peanut butter or dried berries and roasted almonds. Sugar can also weaken your immune system, which we do not need during this virus outbreak. Try to keep your sugar intake below 6 teaspoons, or 25 grams, a day and you will be more likely to benefit from a stronger, more stable immune system.