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Extra time in the kitchen? 7 tips to minimize snacking and keep your health in check

Content provided by the Diabetes Research Institute's Education and Nutrition Service
Maddison Saalinger, MS, RD, LDN

Does COVID-19 safety precautions and shelter-in-place orders have you walking back and forth to the kitchen? You’re not alone! Whether its emotional eating or just stress and boredom, many of us are spending more time snacking. For people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, overeating can make it more difficult to keep blood sugars under control. That’s why it’s important to recognize new patterns and work through them to help you keep your health in check.

1. Organization is key! Get into a routine and follow a schedule just as you did before the pandemic. Set a time for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and possibly one or two snacks. Staying in a routine can help you limit mindless snacking throughout the day. It will also help you keep your blood sugars under better control.

2. Keep your meals and snacks balanced. Instead of eating on impulse, give your meals a purpose. Keep your meals nutrient dense so they are more filling. Try including veggies, fruits, lean meats, whole grains and healthy fats; limit processed foods. Balanced meals will help regulate blood sugar, reduce stress eating, and keep your weight in check.

3. Monitor your portion size. Food labels, measuring tools (i.e. scale, cups), plates, snack bags are still important and useful during this time. Limit eating from the bag or container, serve yourself on a plate or cup where you can see how much you are eating.

4. Plan meals in advance. Planning out your meals for the day or for the week can alleviate your schedule. And if you skip meals, that might lead to too much snacking or late-night eating. Prepping meals in advance can also ease the stress of having to cook if things are a little chaotic around the house.

5. Don’t buy the ‘extra’ snacks. Keep mostly healthy snacks available. It will keep cravings low and force you to select healthier options.

6. Drink plenty of water. You should have six to eight cups a day! Sometimes we feel hungry when in reality we might be thirsty.

7. Practice mindful eating. Recognize what is triggering emotional/stress eating. Being more aware can help you redirect your attention. Think about the last time you ate and ask yourself, “Am I really hungry or am I just bored?” Try drinking a glass of water or engage in an activity that takes your mind off of food, such as a quick walk around the house or five minutes of stretching.

Remember, we’re all in this together, even when we’re home alone!

 

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