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For some of us, learning to work from home can really flip our lives upside down, at least in the early days. Adapting to using your home as your primary work space can take some getting used to. Boundaries between work and personal time can get a little blurred and it can take a while to settle into a routine.

When we are faced with a new normal, one of the first things to change can be our eating behavior. Eating clean can be really difficult when you are working just steps away from your refrigerator. In times like these, turning to junk food can feel like a form of stress relief.

Your body may start craving high-calorie and high-sugar foods during stressful times. In other words, you may find yourself making a beeline for chips and ice cream more often. To make matters worse, stress can also lead to elevated cortisol levels in your body, which will increase your appetite.

But don’t worry. There are healthier options within your reach. We’re sharing some tips on how to avoid stress eating when you are working from home.

Set An Eating Schedule

Being at home, you might think the last thing you need is a daily meal schedule. Not true. Settling into a consistent routine for your day-to-day meals and snacks helps you keep your eating under control. Sticking to this will prevent you from eating mindlessly throughout the day.

Try these 4 tips to get started:

  • Aim to have breakfast within 1 hour of waking up
  • Plan for three meals a day
  • Schedule in a morning and afternoon snack
  • Use your cell phone alarm to set reminders for meals and snacks

Stay Hydrated

Remembering to stay hydrated is important. To make it easy, keep a glass of water, mug of tea or another favorite beverage at your desk while you work so you can sip frequently throughout the day. This will also help keep your hands busy so you’re not reaching for that next thing to nibble on. When you’re filling your glass, try to avoid sugary drinks or beverages with artificial sweeteners. They can throw off your natural appetite. And if you choose to drink alcohol after work, stick to a moderate amount. Alcohol can increase your appetite, which may lead to overeating.

To make sipping your water more fun, try adding fresh fruit or your favorite low-calorie flavoring. Nutrilite™ Twist Tubes 2GO™ flavored packs are convenient to stir into your water and come in a variety of flavors like Strawberry-Kiwi and Mango Citrus.

Distinguish Between Emotional Hunger & Real Hunger

When you’re trying to avoid stress eating, you want to make sure you are tuning into what your body really needs – not just what it wants. Before you head to the kitchen to grab a snack, ask yourself if you are really hungry. Is your stomach growling? If not, you might be feeling stressed or bored and the snack is just a diversion.

When you do sit down for a meal, make sure you are creating an atmosphere where you can enjoy it and focus on the food. Get rid of distractions by turning off the television, and putting away your phone and laptop. Put down your fork between bites, and listen to your body’s cues on how much you need to eat. Stop eating when you feel full.

Keep Healthy Foods In Your Fridge & Prep Your Meals

Keeping your refrigerator and cupboards stocked with healthy foods is a huge help when you’re trying to eat better while you’re working from home. This means having a large selection of unprocessed items like fruits and vegetables, nuts and lean meats on hand so you can create nutritious meals and snacks. Once you have these at your fingertips, meal prep will be easy. Making a plan for your daily meals and snacks is a great way to avoid unwanted snacking during the day because you’ll know another good meal is coming soon.

The same goes for snacks. Having convenient, good-for-you foods you can nosh on between meals helps you keep your energy up while you’re working. This could be a piece of fresh fruit, a handful of nuts, or a bag of BodyKey by Nutrilite™ Zesty Protein Snacks, which are crunchy and perfectly proportioned for a mid-afternoon bite.

Don’t Work Near The Kitchen

When you are working from home, make sure to set up your desk area in a space far away from the kitchen. That way, you won’t give into temptation to wander over and check the refrigerator or cupboards between projects. Try to set limits for yourself, and only go into the kitchen when you are getting ready to have one of your pre-planned meals or snacks.

Don’t Buy Junk Food

It’s a simple premise: If you can’t get your hands on it, you won’t eat it. Avoid stocking your fridge or pantry shelves with junk foods, which are the items you tend to gravitate toward when you’re bored. Be especially careful about keeping foods in the house that might trigger an eating binge. If you have a weakness for triple-chocolate ice cream, vow not to buy it at the store. If you want to enjoy it, you can order scoops of it at your favorite ice cream shop the next time you’re out. Because you’ve been looking forward to it, it will be a treat you’ll savor.

Avoiding stress eating when you’re working from home might seem tough at first. But it’s really about practicing self-care and keeping yourself well. With a little planning and meal prep, you’ll get the hang of these healthy habits.