Nutrition Tips for Managing the Way We Eat While Remaining "Safer at Home"
Author: Katherine McCune, RD, MA | SHC Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist
Many students are experiencing these eating styles while remaining "Safer at Home":
- Grazing-snacking. Not sitting down and having a meal but rather visiting the kitchen multiple times per day and only eating 1-2 bites at a time.
- Boredom eating. Eating to fill time and not really enjoying the food but eating because it is something to do.
- No schedule. The key to avoiding the above is to begin the day with a schedule.
Finding reasonable times to eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, and 1-2 snacks during the day can help. The first meal of the day should be eaten within several hours after waking. If you wake up at 9 AM, then plan a breakfast by 11 AM. The first meal of the day helps set the rhythm and order of all the following meals. Including a protein source (e.g., yogurt, eggs, nuts, fish, chicken, beef, beans) and a carb source (e.g., cereal, whole-grain breads, sweet potatoes, vegetables, tortillas, popcorn) at each meal will provide the foundation for a healthy diet. Protein + Carb = Nutritious Meal
"Grazing" is a word to describe how cow/cattle eat to nourish themselves—eating grass all day long. Humans have a different digestive tract and do not require this style of eating. There is nothing really wrong with this way of eating, but it is not the most satisfying method. When we graze, we do not pay attention to what we are eating. Meaning, grazing is not mindful eating. When we eat mindfully, we can enjoy our food more.
Most of us eat out of boredom some of the time. Eating is an activity. It takes up time and gives us something to do. If you would like to limit your boredom eating, replace it with something else. Examples are reading, talking with a friend or family member, or taking walk.
Some kind of physical activity on a regular basis is very important to digesting food properly. A schedule that includes daily physical activity such as walking, hiking, or some outdoor activity can also improve mood and concentration. Going outdoors and walking before or after a meal is a healthy addition to the day.