If you are worried that it's the fifth time you've opened the fridge this morning, and it's not even 11am, you're not alone.
A survey from multivitamin company WeAreFeel asked 3,000 Brits what they've been snacking on while working remotely, and less than a fifth (19%) admitted to fruit, while the majority (44%) confessed to indulging in confectionery. Geography wise, Birmingham came out on top as the snacking leaders, with 82% of those surveyed admitting they're now eating "more junk food" since homeworking.
It's clear that we're in an unknown situation where stress is heightened, which leads to an increase in stress-induced emotional eating. Stress is a key trigger for overeating, which, when combined with a reduction in social interactions during self-isolation, can lead to eating based on feelings and less on genuine hunger and physical needs.
Another main trigger for many is boredom; something which is easy to come by when stuck indoors. With less structure experienced day to day, it's normal to feel out of sorts and less engaged intellectually and emotionally.
And while bad for your health, a lot of ultra-processed snacks have been proven to target the pleasure centre of the brain, such as crisps and chocolates. Vitamin-D deprivation can also impact certain people, with a lack of sunlight triggering an increase in stress levels, resulting in a craving of sweet foods.
Best tips for managing unhealthy snacking
From herbal teas to glasses of water, you can minimise snack cravings by keeping your body hydrated. Next time you go to indulge, make yourself a tea and wait for the craving to pass.
Have the right snacks on hand
Did you know that 97% of people in the UK snack? That being said, snacking isn't bad if you're making healthier choices. Avoid having unhealthy triggers in your house. Instead, opt for nuts and fresh fruit, make your own protein balls, and order a healthy snack box to keep you going.
When you're feeling a bit bored and looking through the cupboard for no apparent reason, take a break. Participate in an online workout from your living room, play a game of solitaire on your phone, or read a chapter of a book. If you engage your brain, you'll minimise boredom and reduce the need for emotionally-driven snacking.
Get into a good routine
Some forms of snacking can be triggered by being out of a usual routine, so set yourself up for success by getting into good habits. Waking up at the same time each day, having a nutritional breakfast, and taking a proper lunch break, are all ways you can implement some normality into your days. You can even try writing down a schedule and following that as a daily guide.
Always eat at the table
And using a plate. It'll stop you from standing at the kitchen counter tucking into a bag of cookies. Instead, grab a plate and give yourself a smaller portion. It'll help manage how much you're eating and lead to a stronger feeling of satisfaction.
And while you're looking after your body by making the right healthy choices, it's crucial you look after you mind and mental health. Need some guidance? Read our best tips for protecting your mental health when working from home.