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Have you noticed that you are eating more while being stuck at home due to Covid-19
and social distancing? Why is this happening?
Nashville, Ark. – Have you noticed that you are eating more while being stuck at home
due to Covid-19 and social distancing? I have heard from more than one person they
need to stop working from home and return to work in order to get back on track. Why
is this happening? Stress and boredom do play a role, but there may be more to it.
Dr. Brian Wansink, a professor at Cornell University, suggests it may
be “mindless eating”, a phrase he developed. Wansink’s research indicated that subtle
factors – a container’s size or shape or an item’s wording on a menu or label, for
example, influence people, causing them to mindlessly overeat, eating more than a
normal serving size.
According to Wansink’s research, a person makes hundreds of food-related
decisions each day and is unaware of nearly all of them. These decisions include basic
questions such as having breakfast or skipping it and finishing something or saving
it for later. Mindless eating can lead you to eat more than you think you’re eating.
Wansink goes on to say mindless eaters fall into many “diet danger zones”
which lead to overeating. These tendencies can be curbed by making small changes.
Here are some of the common danger zones and solutions for overcoming them:
Mindful Solutions: Use smaller plates and taller glasses to reduce portions. Slow down the eating pace.
Pre-plate food and leave a few bites on the plate. Adopt the half-plate rule, where
half the plate is vegetables. Eat fruit for dessert.
Mindful Solutions: Put snacks away. Place them in the back of the pantry, fridge, or freezer so you
don’t see them every time you open the door. Place a bowl of fruit on the counter,
so you do see it. Studies show people are more likely to choose a food item that is
easily accessible. Eat only at the table. Put the candy dish away.
Mindful Solutions: Divide the amount in half and plan on eating part of the meal now and saving the
rest for lunch the next day. Drink water instead of ordering a drink.
Mindful Solutions: Avoid having food next to where you are working. Turn off the computer when it is
lunch time or stop the car while eating. Chew gum to stave off boredom or stress.
Replace sodas with water.
When we have easy access to food, we are tempted to eat it. Making food more visible
makes people think about it when they see it, increasing snacking and adding a couple
hundred calories each day. That may not sound like much but adding barely a hundred
calories a day can lead to over 10 pounds of extra weight in a year.
Pay attention to your body when eating and stop when you are no longer hungry, not
until you are full. Start with small changes. By making just three 100-calorie reductions
in eating each day, you will lose weight. Write down those reductions and keep a list.
Accountability plays a huge role in weight reduction.
Become a mindful eater, not a mindless eater. For more information on eating healthy,
contact the Howard County Extension Office at 870-845-7517. The Cooperative Extension
Service is part of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.
This recipe is a great to make with your family. They taste great! I like to use white
chocolate chips and craisins. Do not overbake them!
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¾ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup applesauce
2 tablespoons oil (canola or vegetable)
1 ½ cups oats
½ cup coconut, dried fruit, chopped nuts or white chocolate chips, optional
Makes 30 cookies. Serving size: 1 cookie.
Nutritional Information Per Serving: Calories 60, Total Fat 1.5g (Saturated Fat 0g,
Trans Fat 0g), Cholesterol 5mg, Sodium 40mg, Total Carbohydrate 12g (Dietary Fiber
1g, Total Sugars 6g), Protein 1g, Vitamin D 0mcg, Calcium 16mg, Iron 0mg, Potassium
By Jean Ince County Extension Agent - Staff ChairThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Jean Ince County Extension Agent - Staff Chair U of A Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service 421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852 (870) 845-7517 email@example.com
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative
action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need
materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other
appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension
and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity,
sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran
status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative
Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.