Methods to Avoid Bored Eating
Bored watching TV only to find yourself turning to food in absence of hunger? Learn how to avoid boredom eating when cravings strike and willpower is low with tips you can try now.
It is a common sequence of events:
You are bored watching TV, walk into the kitchen, only to realize you are not even hungry. But still, you continue to find something to munch on.
Eating out of boredom may offer temporary satisfaction, but it can have negative and lasting impacts on health. Bored eating may impede weight loss, increase the risk of chronic diseases, and lead to a negative relationship with food.
Fortunately, one can break the sequence! Learn practical ways to stop boredom eating right in its tracks.
Boredom is essentially a feeling of emptiness, and not feeling present and interested in the current surrounding.
To reestablish meaning and relieve boredom, people may turn to food. This often results in unintentional, mindless eating.
What Is Bored Eating?
Bored eating is a type of emotional eating pattern.
In terms of boredom, emotional eating is a temporary solution to escaping the bored self. Emerged feelings of frustration and anger can also lead to stress eating.
These emotion-based eating patterns are not lead by true physical hunger, which is a physical need for food.
Instead, bored and emotional eating are often craving-based. Cravings are not exclusive to one food, and people are more apt to feel satisfied due to released endorphins.
Despite these, people often feel guilty after eating and boredom remains. This can lead to a vicious cycle, though one can take practical steps to stop eating when bored.
How to Stop Eating When Bored
From quenching that thirst to taking a walk, put these healthy tips into practice when bored eating starts to emerge.
Drink a Glass of Water
Dehydration and thirst can easily be mistaken for hunger.
So instead of reaching for a bag of chips or other "junk foods," pour a glass of water. After drinking it, reevaluate your hunger scale.
Also, try sipping on other low-calorie beverages to distract thoughts. These may include a hot cup of coffee or refreshing glass of green tea with a squeeze of lemon.
Plate Your Food
When it comes to boredom eating, the mind may be running aimlessly.
To get a better grip on food intake, plate your food to help the brain back on track. Plating food will also help reduce mindlessly reaching into a bag of chips in bouts of boredom.
Take a Walk
A brisk or leisurely walk will not only distract you from snacks but scorch some calories and lead to many proven health benefits.
Walking with someone can further sidetrack you from boredom eating and prosper miles of steps and good conversation!
Read Your Favorite Book
Let your mind drift away in your favorite book. The focus will be on getting lost into the story rather than fixating on a perceived food craving.
Other mind-stimulating activities include drawing, coloring, and puzzles. Really, try to find a hobby that leaves you feeling fulfilled.
Chew on Gum
Keep a pack of gum in the kitchen or areas you often find yourself. If you tend to snack while watching television, gum would be notable in the living room.
Ultimately, popping in a piece of gum can help distract the desire to chew and snack on other foods.
When Bored Eating Isn't Bored Eating
Sometimes physical hunger really does strike and heading to the kitchen was not boredom-based.
After paying attention to hunger cues and noticing a growling stomach, eat a healthy snack. The snacks detailed below are balanced with protein, fiber, and healthy fat to satisfy hunger (and maybe even help you lose weight)!
Carrots and Hummus
Wanting a little crunch without packing on calories?
Chips are generally empty calories, meaning they bulk up calories without benefiting nutrients.
Carrots and hummus provide ample amounts of nutrients and healthy fats while keeping calories in check.
Berries and Greek Yogurt
Fruit offers natural sweetness to beat that sweet tooth. It also supplies essential fiber to increase satiety and other essential nutrients.
Fruit also contains the natural sugar fructose, which can cause blood sugar to spike when eaten alone. Eating fruit with a protein-rich dairy source helps stabilize blood sugar and prevents it from fluctuating.
Screen time typically raises the chance for boredom eating. However, family movie night does not have to fully void traditional snacks.
Skip the added butter and oils for guilt-free, light popcorn. Sprinkle with taco seasoning, a ranch packet, or cinnamon to spice up the flavor.
If craving crunch and a little salt, look no further. Nuts offer natural fats that are appreciated by the body.
Since nuts are rich in calories, try sticking to a small handful rather than a large snack cup.
Unlike most snack foods that pack on calories without offering nutrients, cheese supplies protein, healthy fat, and calcium.
The nutritional totality of a cheese stick allows for satiation. Pair with whole-grain crackers or cucumbers if desiring a little added crunch!