Snacking happens. Sometimes, it even happens when you’re not necessarily hungry, just bored. It’s important to be aware of how often you are snacking due to boredom and address the boredom if necessary. However, occasional snacking for reasons other than hunger is just fine.
Have you ever opened the pantry or refrigerator simply to eat whatever you can find without thinking? Snacking on something feels like a decent way to pass the time sometimes, even if you’re not hungry.
This season, with so many of us working from home, the temptation may be stronger than ever. Rather than interrupting your healthy-eating streak with high-calorie, processed snacks, experts recommend stocking your cupboard and refrigerator with these healthier alternatives.
Snacks to Eat When Bored
Be sure you choose snacks that sound good and appeal to your personal preferences. You might also consider snacks that take time to eat. That way, it can be a more mindful and satisfying experience. Here are six low-calorie, high-volume options for your next snack attack.
Cut Veggies and Salsa
Make yourself a hero by keeping a fridge stocked with cut vegetables for quick, healthy snacks. They’re filling, crisp, and low in calories, plus they provide your body with a plethora of nutrients.
If you’re bored and eating, you might as well get something useful out of it. Baby carrots, jicama sticks, and sugar snap peas are all good veggie snacks.
After lightly steaming the sugar snap peas, cool them. This eliminates their slightly green taste.) Salsa is also low in calories and high in flavor.
Keep it simple or experiment with different flavours, such as peach salsa. Alternatively, make it extra hot to slow down your eating.
Prefer your veggies French-fried style? You can learn how to make low-fat fries from fresh veggies.
Popcorn is the ultimate high-volume snack. Just stick with low-calorie picks and avoid adding butter, of course. Plenty of brands makes reduced-calorie ready-to-eat snacks.
Check out Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop, Smartfood Delight, Cape Cod Popcorn, and Popcorn Indiana Fit Popcorn. Each of those has options with about 35 calories per cup or less.
That means you can have around 3 cups for 100 calories. Sweet! If portion control is a problem, whip up your own 100-calorie snacks using sealable bags or containers.
Fresh fruit has several advantages: it is nutritious, all-natural, and delicious. A crisp Fuji apple, a cup of green grapes, a bowl of sliced mango, a berry trifecta of raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries — the list of healthy fruits goes on and on.
If you’re seeking sweetness, fresh fruit is the way to go—you’ll receive that delicious natural flavor without any added sugar.
They’re green, they’re lean, and they’re perfect for when you feel like you need some crunch in your life! Seaweed snacks are light, crispy, and naturally salty—perfect for when you’re craving potato chips. Bonus: You can have a huge portion for a small number of calories.
Look for seaweed sheets, seaweed crumbles, even chips. Some of my top brand picks are SeaSnax, GimMe Organic, and Annie Chun’s.
Watch out for heavily fried snacks with added oil. Always flip the bag around and check the nutritional panel for the calories and fat count. And don’t forget to check the servings per container.
Why reach for freeze-dried fruit when you could have the fresh stuff? The freeze-dried kind has a distinct crunchy texture that’s perfect when you need a serious snack fix. Plus, you can keep packages of it on hand without worrying about spoilage.
If you’re unfamiliar with freeze-dried fruit, here’s the deal: It’s basically dehydrated fruit that maintains its size; the moisture is removed, leaving you with a crispy treat.
Unlike dried fruit, it isn’t shriveled, so you get a nice big serving. Tip: Mix some freeze-dried fruit with light popcorn for a mega-snack mix.
Sugar-free hard candy and lollipops are a little different from the rest of the snacks on this list in that they’re not high-volume—you don’t want to eat a lot of hard candies and lollipops. But the good news is that you don’t need to.
The beauty of hard candy is that it takes a long time to eat, so a little goes a long way. I’m a fan of classic 60-calorie Tootsie Pops. Mint-flavored treats are also good because they tend to curb cravings for other foods once you have that mint flavor in your mouth.
The bottom line
Particularly between 2020 and 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic, many people reported increased feelings of boredom and altered eating habits, as well as side effects like weight gain.
Boredom eating is unique situations like this may be nothing to worry about. It’s normal to feel an urge to eat when you’re bored, even on a regular basis.
Yet, if boredom eating is affecting your mental or physical health with side effects like weight gain and anxiety, you may be looking for a way to stop.
In that case, some of these tips to address boredom eating could work for you.
Try out a few to see which ones work best for your circumstances.