In this time of pandemic, stress can be high. Although we are currently in an exceptional situation, we can also be stressed for other reasons. These days, you often hear people jokingly say, “I need social distancing from my fridge!” It’s true, being confined to the house where food is available 24 hours a day can be a challenge, especially if you’re feeling more stressed. Food becomes a way to manage our stress. First, you should NOT feel guilty if you eat more. However, learning to manage our stress is essential. Also, there are a few things you can do to manage your diet.
How to do it :
1-Maintain a healthy routine
It is important to maintain a meal / snack routine during times of stress. Keeping 3 meals and 1 to 3 snacks a day will help reduce cravings that can occur later in the day. If you eat enough nutritious food on a regular basis, you won’t feel like snacking. This makes it easier to avoid foods high in fat and sugars that call us out of the pantry!
2-Know how to recognize your hunger signals
Under stress, the body produces hormones such as cortisol. The latter acts on the brain by increasing the feeling of hunger. To learn how to differentiate a real hunger from a false hunger, several tools already exist.
Lack of sleep acts like stress and can thus increase the perceived feeling of hunger. In addition, you may want to eat to boost your energy. Often, these cravings are most evident for comfort foods that are high in energy. So, get 7-8 hours of sleep and avoid screens in the hour before bedtime, even if we tend to do a little more lately! Take the opportunity to read a book, listen to relaxing music, etc.
4- Consume satiating foods
Eating foods that are satietogenic will help keep you full for a longer period of time. These foods are proteins! Make sure you have one of the following options at each meal: fish, an egg, yogurt, cheese, legumes, tofu or tempeh, chicken, nuts or seeds … To have a satiating effect, add fibers and voilà!
- Half plate of vegetables
- Fruits every day
- A quarter of the plate in whole grains rich in fiber: quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat or legume pasta, whole wheat bread, sweet potato, oats, bulgur, barley
- A quarter of the plate in various proteins
5- Occupy yourself
Before eating, especially between meals, ask yourself whether you are really hungry. Often, we may want to eat to relieve boredom or de-stress. If you are not hungry, try to clear your mind by changing the room or activity, going for a walk, drinking herbal tea …
If the urge to eat continues to dominate, maybe it is real hunger. When this is indeed the case, it must be fixed!
6- Get enough hydration
When you are indoors all day, the air is dry and it can be very easy to mistake thirst for hunger. Indeed, the first signal of thirst is hunger. So don’t hesitate to have a good glass of water first if you are not sure you can tell the difference between the two.