Studies show that junk food intake among Canadians is on the rise. The culprit? The global pandemic. A survey conducted by Statistics Canada in the spring of this year found that nearly 1 in 3 Canadians admitted to eating more junk food or sweets. When surveyed again in the summer, that number was even higher.
We’re Making Unhealthy Choices
Studies show that external factors have a lot more to do with our intake choices than we think. Experts say that the urge to consume fast food and sweets can be a response to stressors in our environment – with many people turning to junk food to manage uncomfortable emotions like anxiety and sadness.
We Need a Distraction
Studies link the urge to consume fast food and sweets with stress, but why? Research indicates that junk food is inherently more distracting when consumed than are more nutritional alternatives. In fact, fast food and sweets are found to be twice as distracting as healthy foods according to a study conducted at Johns Hopkins University.
How to Manage Stress Eating
You’re more likely to opt for a healthy snack if junk food isn’t an option. Keep this in mind when doing your weekly grocery list. Here, experts say the key is to be reasonable. It’s easy to be optimistic about eating healthy while at the grocery store, but when you feel the urge to snack, ordering takeout will seem easier than steaming the broccoli in your fridge. Finding middle ground is key; stock your shelves with healthy snacks that you’ll actually want to eat.
If remote working is making it all too easy to dip into the chip bowl, it’s time to implement some routine. Instead of grabbing a snack every time you pass by the kitchen, try creating a meal schedule and sticking to it.
While eating in front of the TV can be relaxing, studies directly link this bad habit with overeating. Experts say that it’s important to create separate spaces for eating and entertainment.
If you find it hard to not to snack in front of the screen, try asking family members to join you in eating on schedule. If you’re not able to eat in person with loved ones or friends, agree to meet on FaceTime or Zoom. This helps you focus on the food you’re eating, meaning you’re more likely to eat a healthy portion and won’t crave a sweet snack afterwards.