This blog article is all about setting boundaries between you and your pantry. Continuous grazing on food or opting for snacks during the day when working from home can very quickly result in a viscous SNACKING cycle.
The best way to overcome this cycle, is to set some boundaries to ensure a positive relationship with your food, especially during times of stress and uncertainty. I’ve come up with 10 boundaries/tips you can start to implement (if you’re not already doing so), to help you keep on track with your health and nutrition goals.
Boundary/tip 1: Pencil in your meal times as you would if working in the office.
This means if breakfast is at 7am, lunch at 12pm, dinner at 6pm, stick to eating at these meal times. Keeping a routine is really important for staying on track.
Boundary/tip 2: Make sure you’re adding all the macronutrients to your meal aka balanced meals!
Simply add the following to your plate at each meal: 120g of protein (for woman, 150g for men), a few tablespoons of healthy fats i.e. avocado, olive oil, nut butter, nuts etc., plenty of fresh veggies and some carbs such as sweet potato, rice, oats… you know the drill! Eat like this 3 times a day and I doubt you’ll need extra snacks.
Boundary/tip 3: Do not set up your home office in the kitchen.
From experience, this is a recipe for failure. I did this last week and by 5pm I had eaten the whole panty!
Boundary/tip 4: Throw out the lollies, sweets and packaged foods if you’re going to be tempted by them.
Remember out of sight, out of mind! You could even try NOT buying certain things at the supermarket or purchasing things in smaller amounts. Two examples: If buy 1kg of almonds instead of a 200g packet - without doubt I will have finished the 1kg by the end of the week because they are there to eat. If I DON’T add chocolate to the shopping list, it’s not in my pantry to nibble on.
Boundary/tip 5: Work out the ‘root cause’ behind your snacking?
Is it from pure boredom, out of habit or perhaps stress? Maybe you’re actually dehydrated and don’t even realise. If this is the case, fill up on a glass of soda water with frozen raspberries and fresh lime, and revisit the thought of food in another 30 minutes.
Boundary/tip 6: If you are hungry mid morning or afternoon, choose a nutrient dense snack.
Think about 200 calories coming from a packet of chips vs 200 calories from a sliced apple paired with some nut butter. You would OBVIOUSLY choose option 2, as an apple is high in fibre and full of nutrients plus the nut butter comprises healthy fats which is going to keep you fuller for longer. The chips are a convenient, highly processed product which should be enjoyed as a ‘sometimes food’.
Boundary/tip 7: Add magnesium rich foods to reduce cravings.
If you’re reaching for something sweet, try adding in some magnesium rich foods, such as dark chocolate (please opt for AT LEAST 70-85% cacao based), cashews, pumpkin seeds, avocado, banana, raspberries. I would try my Healthy Hormone Granola recipe with yoghurt and raspberries, smashed avocado with carrot sticks, a handful of nuts or a small banana will do the trick. So simple, so effective!
Boundary/tip 8: Prepare a snack for the week ahead.
This way it’s ready to grab and get straight back to your desk. I made a batch of my Raw Cookie Dough Balls on Sunday afternoon, so I wasn’t wasting time during the week preparing a recipe from scratch!
Boundary/tip 9: Practice portion control.
Although some foods are really nutritious (like my earlier example of the nuts and dark chocolate), a calorie is a calorie and if we don’t burn more than we eat, it will easily lead to weight gain. My tip here is to add your snacks into My Fitness Pal (sign up for free if you don't have an account) to understand what proportion of your daily calories the snacks are making up. I don’t want you to remove the snacks but educate yourself on the nutritional content of the foods you choose to eat.
Boundary/tip 10: Enjoy wine in moderation.
Although not a snack, wine can end up making up a big part of our daily intake if we’re not careful with how much we’re drinking. I believe alcohol should be enjoyed in moderation and if that means a few glasses of wine with family at dinner time across the weekend (or with friends via FaceTime during isolation), then that’s okay. But the next time you reach for that bottle of bubbles mid-week, remember that a standard glass can range from anywhere between 80-120 calories.
So to finish, enjoy your nutritious snacks in moderation and remember to set yourself some boundaries when working from home.