5 Tricks to Crush Your Quarantine Cravings

Article posted in: Nutrition
quarantine diet cravings tips

You’re home in quarantine surrounded by food. What happens? You eat. Whether it’s the smell of the popcorn your husband’s popping or the sight of it steaming in a big bowl, nose and eye hunger convince you that you’re hungry, even if you’ve just eaten, says Jan Chozen Bays MD, author of Mindful Eating.

Boredom can also convince you to eat when you’re not hungry, suggests Bays as well as research found in a February 2015 issue of Appetite. Scientists bored participants by having them watch the same 85-second clip of a game of indoor tennis for an hour. Some were given M&Ms to munch on and others were given a device to stimulate electric shock. In the end, both types of stimulation were popular, suggesting people eat to break monotony rather than for the pleasure of food itself.

If you find yourself reaching for unhealthy snacks due to boredom or stress while social distancing, we’re here to help! Our health and wellness experts here at The Palm have come up with some simple tips and tricks to help you crush your quarantine cravings and stay on track with your keto friendly meal plan.

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Here are five simple tricks to crush your quarantine cravings:

1. Are You Really Hungry?

quarantine diet cravings tips

Before you find yourself on the couch with a bag of chips, pause at the pantry door and assess your hunger. When did you eat last? Is it possible you’re just thirsty? Drink a glass of water and reassess. Go work a puzzle, read a few pages of a book or take a 10-minute walk around the block and reassess—if you haven’t already moved on. If you’re hungry, eat a high-protein or high-fiber snack to keep you full longer. Learn more about understanding hunger and mindful eating. >

2. Take a Bake Break

keto baking recipes

Baking takes time. And you’ve got oodles of it right now in quarantine, which is why you keep finding yourself in your kitchen, spatula in hand. According to a 2016 study, published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, baking is also therapeutic, says Smithsonian Magazine. They explain, “people who frequently take a turn at small, creative projects report feeling more relaxed and happier in their everyday lives.”

So, by all means, bake! Just stick to keto friendly options and you’re in the clear. There are plenty of terrific, keto friendly recipes right here on The Palm to keep you on track. For breakfast or snack time, there’s our Grain-Free Granola or Caprese Breakfast Muffins. For dessert, we’ve got Mini Cocoa Swirl Cheesecakes or Chocolate Brownie Cookies. If you’re craving comfort, try this Almond Flour Keto Bread. We even have options for those who don’t like to bake! You’ll love our No-Bake Strawberry Bliss Balls and No-Bake Key Lime and Avocado Cheesecake.

3. Eat Happy Foods

quarantine diet cravings tips

Sure, hunger can affect mood. And yes: eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables consistently throughout the day can improve mood and energy levels because they prevent blood sugar from rising and falling rapidly. However, did you know there are specific foods that have a positive impact on mood and can actually reduce the symptoms and effects of chemical imbalances in the brain and body? Here are four of our favorite mood boosting foods to stock up on during the quarantine:

  1. Oats: Oatmeal is a fiber-rich, nutritious food that’s especially high in iron, says Healthline. According to Mayo Clinic, iron deficiency can lead to anemia, which means the body doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to all of its cells and tissues. The symptoms of iron deficiency are similar to depression, including weakness, exhaustion, irritability and brain fog.
  2. Sunflower Seeds: According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), just one cup of dried sunflower seeds contains 455 milligrams of magnesium. Magnesium is an essential mineral that keeps your bones, immune system and cardiovascular system healthy, says Medical News Today. Magnesium has also been studied for its role in anxiety, stress and depression. “A variety of neuromuscular and psychiatric symptoms, including different types of depression, was observed in magnesium deficiency,” says Pharmacological Reports.
  3. Pickles: When people take probiotics, their anxiety levels, stress perception and mental outlooks also improve, says Harvard Health. They explain that about 95 percent of the body’s serotonin (which controls sleep, appetite and mood) is made in the gut, which is lined with millions of nerve cells. Therefore, scientists believe that the digestive system helps to control our emotions. Fermented foods like pickles are probiotics and terrific for digestive health because they contain “good” bacteria that provide a barrier against toxins, inflammation and “bad” bacteria.
  4. Turkey: Turkey contains tryptophan, an amino acid that is often touted for its sleep-inducing benefits (especially after eating that Thanksgiving dinner). However, it is not often recognized for its ability to stabilize mood. According to Healthline, “It is known that tryptophan depletion is seen in those with mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.” Plus, when you get a good night’s sleep, you’re more likely to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start a new day.

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4. Go Outside

quarantine diet cravings tips

It takes effort to unplug from technology during a quarantine. However, BBC.com explains that when we take a moment to disconnect and spend time in nature, we’re happier, according to a 2016 study, published in PLOS One. Participants were challenged to “do something wild” every day for 30 days. “The study showed that there was a scientifically significant increase in people’s health, happiness, connection to nature and active nature behaviours, such as feeding the birds and planting flowers for bees – not just throughout the challenge, but sustained for months after the challenge had been completed.”

According to the University of East Anglia, a 2018 report published in Environmental Research goes even further, suggesting exposure to nature reduces the risk of diabetes, heart disease, stress, hypertension and death. Need even more convincing? Here are six reasons to start a garden while you’re stuck at home! >

5. Exercise

quarantine home workouts

According to Reuters Health, 47 overweight people participated in a study at the University of Innsbruck in Austria. The subjects were told to avoid eating sweets for three days. Two hours before each “assessment of cravings,” participants were to fast and drink nothing but water and avoid exercise. Then, some participates warmed up on a treadmill and walked for 15 minutes, while other participants were told to sit still for 15 minutes. Afterwards, all subjects took a test that was designed to increase stress and were then given a piece of candy to hold—but not eat. “Those who exercised reported significantly lower cravings for sweets mid-way through the experiment and at the end than the participants who didn’t get on the treadmill,” says Reuters Health.

Many other studies have also shown the positive power of exercise on mood. For those who tend to stress eat or snack for emotional reasons (which we’re all doing right now!), adding some exercise like walking can help you crush your cravings. At the same time, exercise can also trigger metabolic processes that make more blood sugar available to the brain, reducing the craving for sugary foods.

No gym? No problem! Try incorporating some home workouts into your fitness routine. You can also stay active and healthy by doing everyday activities around the house. Click here for four activities to stay fit while you’re social distancing. >

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