Many of us are spending more time at home as the world responds to the coronavirus outbreak.

Tina Hreso prepares a healthy meal at home.
Tina Hreso prepares a healthy meal at home.

Registered dietitian Tina Hreso of Novant Health Bariatric Solutions in Charlotte explained how to maintain weight during a change to our normal routines. While boredom- or stress-related eating is tempting – and lots of us are closer to the fridge these days – Hreso said it’s also an opportunity to develop healthier habits.

Here are nine ways to get started:

  1. Create an eating pattern where you have a meal or snack about every three hours. This can help prevent mindless snacking.
  2. Keep a food journal – tracking the time of day, the food and the amount – to hold yourself accountable.
  3. Limit snacking of highly processed foods such as chips and cookies. If you don’t buy it, you can’t eat it.
  4. Portion out your snacks. Place cheese and crackers, for example, in individual bags to prevent overeating.
  5. Drink at least 64 ounces of water each day to stay hydrated and keep your body’s systems functioning normally; consider adding things like mint, cucumber or ginger. Avoid sugary beverages.
  6. Practice mindful eating. Ask yourself, “Why am I reaching for this?” or “Has it been three hours since my last meal or snack?”
  7. Stay active. Lay out a yoga mat, walk up and down the stairs, stream a workout online or dust off your old workout tapes.
  8. Call or FaceTime a friend or family member to talk about your emotions. Getting your feelings out can help curb emotional eating.
  9. Buy food that comes from the earth – fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains and lean protein.

Hreso also encouraged people to spend extra time by experimenting in the kitchen.

“It’s a great opportunity to explore different foods, different vegetables in particular, that you haven’t had a lot of experience cooking,” Hreso said. “Try them a different way and just take advantage of it right now.”

Listen to the Healthy Headlines podcast to hear all of Hreso’s recommendations.

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