Handling those COVID-19 cravings
Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, our lives have been completely turned upside down. In this stressful time and as we spend so much time at home, it’s tempting to snack a lot more, often on unhealthy foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt. With this in mind, Niall Grieve, placement student from Ulster University, has some tips on how to control those cravings.
Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, our lives have been completely turned upside down over the past few weeks. Most of us are confined to our homes, whether we've lost our jobs, are working from home or studying online.
In this stressful time and as we spend so much time at home, it’s tempting to snack a lot more, often on unhealthy foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt. With this in mind, here are some tips on how to control those cravings during this time.
Have healthy snacks on hand
Be prepared for when those cravings hit. If you have healthy snacks ready to go, you’ll be more likely to reach for them.
Some ideas can include:
- Vegetable sticks
- Cheese and crackers
- Half a bagel with peanut butter
- Banana on toast
- A pot of yoghurt
Here’s some more advice about healthy snacking.
Start with the food shop
Making a food shopping list and sticking to it will help reduce shopping trips and help reduce the amount of unhealthy snacks you bring into your home.
Only write down essential foods that are healthy. If you don’t bring unhealthy snacks into the house, you can’t be tempted to eat them. Having a shopping list can help you avoid “special offers” for items not on your list. This will also help you save money.
Here’s some advice from RTE's Operation Transformation leaders on food shopping and making lists:
Some people have been ‘panic-buying’ or buying too much food. The experts say there’s no need for stock piling. In fact it will just make it harder for other people to get what they need. Stick to the list!
You can read our shopping tips here.
People snack for many reasons such as stress and boredom. We are all likely to feel a bit more stressed during this time and with many of us at home more and and unable to see or friends or family, we can have a lot of free time on our hands. We may even find ourselves snacking when we aren’t even hungry.
It is important for us to realise what our triggers are. So, when these cravings hit, try and distract yourself and keep busy. This could be by going for a walk outside, calling a family member or friend for a catch up or listening to some music. Try and resist the craving until the urge passes.
Remember to stay hydrated. We should drink about eight glasses or 1.2 litres of fluid each day. Water and milk are the best choices for drinking regularly during the day.
Try to keep any treat foods out of sight such as in the back of a cupboard while keeping healthy alternatives in easy reach. This could be a fruit bowl on the kitchen table, yoghurt pots in the fridge and vegetable sticks, pre-cut and ready to eat. This way, we’ll be more likely to reach for these snacks.
Go easy on yourself
Most importantly, we must remember this is a stressful time for everyone. The key right now is to try to remain as healthy as possible – both physically and mentally.
You can also check out our recipe book ‘101 Square Meals’ for some more healthy snack and recipe ideas.