I’m hearing a general concern around more snacks while working from home. There’s the 24/7 access to the pantry, added stress, and lack of social time. Trust me…I get it.
As a dietitian who provides Virtual 1:1 Nutrition Coaching, I’m working from home the majority of the week, too.
In this article, I’ll give you my bulletproof strategies to go from distracted to mindful snacking + 7 snacks that I’ve been loving lately (chocolate included).
First, let’s bust a few myths that give snacking a bad rep.
How Snacks While Working From Home Can Be Helpful
Snacking gets a bad reputation as providing “excess calories” or “ruining a meal.” However, there are many positives to snacking, especially under the lens of intuitive eating.
Snacking is helpful when honoring hunger cues, giving yourself unconditional permission to eat, and for the prevention of “ravenous” hunger. Remember “ravenous” hunger from the Hunger-Fullness Discovery Scale?
When we wait to the point of ravenous hunger, eating becomes fleeting and mindless. We eat so quickly and end up eating more than if we would’ve enjoyed a snack earlier. Enjoying snacks when you start to feel hungry between meals is a balanced way to stay fueled and energized.
A few additional reminders:
- You don’t have to “earn” your snacks by exercising more.
- Feeling extra hungry one day compared to the next is normal. Levels of hunger change based on hormonal cycles, stress, activity level, etc.
- There isn’t a one-size-fits-all eating pattern. Some people feel best with 3 meals, while others do better with snacking between meals.
Move from Distracted to Mindful Snacking
One study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition illustrated the influence of distracted eating on satisfaction. When comparing two groups of eaters, distracted versus non-distracted eaters, the distracted eaters were more likely to:
- Eat faster
- Feel less full
- Eat more snacks
- Unable to recall what they ate
To move from distracted to mindful snacking while working from home, try these strategies:
Set up a designated workspace away from your kitchen.
I notice a huge difference in my snacking habits between days that I sit at the kitchen countertop versus days that I sit at my desk to work. Create healthy boundaries by setting up an office/work area + separate kitchen/eating area. I understand that this can be difficult in a small space, but even minor adjustments count! Perhaps it’s making half the kitchen table a workspace while keeping the other half clean for meal + snack time.
Unplug when snacking.
Raise your hand if you eat in front of your laptop. I’m guilty of this, too! In today’s fast-paced world, we’re constantly multitasking to keep up on work. However, taking functional breaks away from your computer can increase productivity. Additionally, eating away from your computer improves the eating experience. Who doesn’t want greater satisfaction with snack time? Also, non-distracted eaters are better able to feel and listen to internal cues around fullness.
Keep a stocked fridge + pantry.
Some of my clients are surprised when I say this. They think, “if I have a lot of food in the house, I’ll just eat it all.” I explain to them the scarcity versus abundance mindset. When food is scarce or restricted, the body is more likely to binge eat because it doesn’t know where the next meal is coming from. When food is plentiful, the eating experience is much more relaxed because there’s trust in knowing that you can eat at a later time.
Check-in with hunger cues.
Am I meal hungry or snack hungry? If I’m not truly hungry, but I feel like eating, what emotions are present? Perhaps there’s boredom or stress at the surface. What are some other ways to care for yourself when you feel bored or stressed? Yes, you can snack for emotional reasons. And you can also come up with non-food related ways of coping with emotions. When bored or stressed, break up your day with a walk, call a friend, or zen out with yoga. Check out this article for how to navigate emotional eating + snacking.
Map out a list of your favorite snacks.
With my 1:1 coaching clients, together we map out a list of various snacks that help them feel energized and satisfied. In other words, snacks that taste good and make them feel good. This way, there’s a flexible plan in place. What foods hit-the-spot and help you feel your best? Make it a point to have these snacks available and easy to assemble when taking a snack break. For inspiration, here are the snacks I’ve had on repeat lately.
7 Snacks I Have On Repeat While Working From Home
- Fancy snack plates. Think “1 person charcuterie plate” to make a snack-time special. Arrange your favorite fruits, veggies, crackers, cheeses, and nuts or nut butter on a plate. Make the plate balanced with some combination of protein + carbohydrate + healthy fat + fiber. Pretzels + hummus + veggies // Grapes + cheese + crackers // Fruit + nuts…the options are endless.
- Dark chocolate covered almonds. Craving chocolate after a meal? The crunchy + sweet combo of chocolate covered almonds is super satisfying and hits-the-spot. I love Trader Joe’s chocolate covered almonds!
- Apples with nut butter + granola. Apples and PB is the OG snack (in my opinion). Try slicing up an apple into bite-sized pieces, drizzle with your favorite nut butter, and top with granola for additional salty//sweet crunch. I love Purely Elizabeth Granola in this combo.
- Super Seed Muffins. I usually make a batch of my Super Seed Muffins for a busy week. It’s a sneaky way to add in veggies, making these kid-friendly, too. Try them warmed and topped with butter or almond butter…trust me.
- Smoothies. Smoothies are versatile + convenient when you have frozen fruit on hand. I’ve shared My Go-To Smoothie combo, Everglow Green Citrus Smoothie, + smoothie bowl version. All you need is a high-speed blender to whip up these creations.
- Oatmeal Cashew Energy Balls. I’ll let you in on a secret…these taste like cookie dough! Keep a batch in your freezer for when you want a bite-sized snack. I love them before a workout for extra fuel + energy.
- Packaged snacks. Not all snacks have to be homemade. Nutrient-dense snacks can come from a package, too! Here’s what I like to keep in my fridge and pantry:
- Siggi’s single-serving size yogurts
- Perfect Bars
- Microwaveable popcorn
- Sabra hummus + pretzel cups
Food For Thought
Are you a distracted or mindful eater?
Do you give yourself permission to snack when hungry?
What is one step you can take this week to set yourself up for success with snacking?
As always, send me your feedback + questions. I’m here to support you, especially during this time of isolation and working from home. Send me a DM on Instagram or schedule a FREE discovery call with me today.