Stress Eating Prevention: Saying No to Fast Food and Other Unhealthy Food

different kinds of fast food

There’s no doubt that the pandemic has caused stress and anxiety among families. Parents lost their jobs or juggled between working from home and attending to the needs of their kids. On the other hand, children had to adjust to the challenges of online classes. For more than a year, families were ordered to stay at home and only go out when necessary. People were stuck at home and couldn’t travel.

Aside from all the cabin fever that everyone’s been feeling, there’s also anxiety and fear over the virus and the uncertainties that this pandemic brings.

All these issues brought about by the pandemic unconsciously affected the eating habits of many families. Many gained weight while others lost a few kilograms. Nutrition wasn’t the first priority of families during the pandemic. Those who had food on their tables had the option to eat more as an escape. Meanwhile, those who didn’t have anything to eat had to rely on food banks and food donations. Thus, they lost weight.

Overall, this pandemic has affected the nutrition of people, regardless of age.

How Our Eating Habits Changed

According to the 15th Annual Food & Health Survey, 85% of respondents said they initiated many adjustments to their eating habits during the pandemic. Most of them have begun to cook at home. Many have also been snacking more than they used to during the pandemic. Some respondents also say that they have been thinking more of eating food more than they used to.

In another survey among parents and children during the onset of the pandemic, two-thirds of family respondents said they’ve been eating healthier. However, 20% of parents said they are too stressed and busy these days that they resorted to fast food for convenience. In fact, one in six parent respondents said that their kid takes on fast food at least twice a week. Some of them find fast food cheaper and more convenient, especially when they are in a hurry.

The poll also revealed that one in three parents take time to read the nutritional information on the restaurants’ menus. The majority of them, too, allow their child to pick what they want to eat, though they try to lead them to choose healthier options if possible.

While it is the responsibility of parents to make sure that their kids are getting the nutrition they need, it should be understandable that these are extreme, unprecedented times. Parents were also caught off guard by all the things happening during the pandemic. Some lost their jobs. Others had to struggle with their work from home duties. They also had to oversee their kids’ online learning. They have so much to look after in this pandemic that they tend to go with what is more manageable and convenient these days, like fast food.

However, things are now somehow getting better. Parents are encouraged to assess their dynamics at home and see where things could improve, especially with their family’s eating habits.

It’s Never Too Late

Here are some tips for parents who want to include healthier options for their family’s nutrition and lifestyle:

  • Vary your family’s food choices

You don’t always have to stick with vegetables just so to be healthy. Aside from the fact that kids generally do not like the taste of vegetables, they also take time to make. Search for easy-to-do recipes with a twist online to make them more appealing to your kids. If you search for online bakeshops, you can find gluten-free snacks that are easy to bake. Not only are they yummy, but they are also healthy. Your kids will surely love them.

  • Improve time management

Just because things are hard these days doesn’t mean you also have to be too hard on yourself. Set a routine where you can pause work for a while and enjoy preparing food for your family. Allot a specific time for it. Make it your bonding moment for the day. You don’t only get to spend quality time with your family. You also make sure that you know and prepare the meals that they are having.

The Bottom Line

Enough of the fast food and the unhealthy meals. Health and wellness are even more important these days during the pandemic. If they are getting the nutrients they need, you are assured that they won’t get sick. So make sure to allot time for cooking. Consider it your break time from work and your quality time with your family. Undoubtedly, cooking can be therapeutic for you, too.

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