When there’s little to do but lounge around, it’s hard to avoid unhealthy snacking. We get bored, look through the fridge and pantry, and find the perfect snack to occupy our time. The result of this is overindulging and when done repeatedly, it can jeopardize your diet! Why do we develop these unhealthy habits? When we’re bored, snacking helps to break up the monotony. The foods we choose are high in sugar, fat and/or sodium content. They cause our brain to release endorphins like dopamine that make us feel good and because of that, we keep on snacking. The next thing you know, you’ve finished a whole bag of chips. It’s a vicious cycle that will allow unhealthy habits to spill over into every aspect of your life. Did you know it takes a minimum of 6 weeks to break a habit? What about that it takes a lifetime to overcome one? It won’t be easy but it is possible. And remember- mistakes are just par for the course! We all make them but we have to brush it off and keep going.
Here are some tips to combat this unhealthy habit:
First and foremost, find something to do! If the weather is nice, take advantage and go for a walk, run or bike ride. Getting fresh air can be a great stress reliever. When it’s rainy out: plan a family game night, finish a puzzle, complete some sodoku, color a picture, read a book and try out a healthy recipe!
Focus on when you’re hungry and what you're craving. Humans tend to become creatures of habit and you will notice a pattern. Once we start snacking at a certain time daily, our brain tells us we want a snack every day at that time. If you are hungry every day at 9 P.M. while watching TV, take note of that and try to keep healthy snacks nearby.
Did you ever notice that when you feel like you’re starving, you’ll eat anything in sight? Even that salad? Even that bland chicken? If you’re actually hungry, you’ll eat anything- including a healthy snack. So, if you’re craving ice cream late at night and something healthy and sweet like fruit doesn’t cut it, you’re just bored. Find something productive to do! And when all else fails, brush your teeth! Did you ever eat something right after brushing your teeth? It doesn’t taste great right? You see where I’m going!
These are all easy things you can do to prevent eating when bored. Start breaking that habit today!