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Social Distance Snacking

Isolation Insights: Social Distance Snacking

At the moment, we are all trying to be responsible citizens by staying home as much as possible.

This sudden change to our normal daily routine can alter our eating habits, which in turn, can also even alter our mood! Deirbhile and Nicole, who are both UL students studying MSc in Dietetics and Nutrition have found they are struggling themselves to keep in a routine. They have shared their 5 simple tips that help them stay happy and healthy at home!

1. Mindful eating

It’s not unusual to grab yourself a share size bag of treats while watching TV and then all of a sudden, they’re gone!! Instead, try and choose the smaller bag. Portion control is key! Listen to your body’s hunger ques. Ask yourself ‘Am I eating this because I am hungry’? Or ‘Am I eating this because I am bored’? Eat slowly, chewing the food well. Even by eating your meals in a calm environment with no distractions (no phones, no TVs), can help you stay aware of how much or how fast you’re eating.

2. Regular meal pattern

It is important to have a regular meal routine to help us structure our days (such as three main meals with some healthy snacks in-between). This will help you stay away from raiding the fridge at night! Eating with others living in your home (if possible) at set times is also important.

3. Plan your food

Like any other week, it can be useful to plan meals ahead – not least because we want to limit all trips out of the house to a minimum. Follow the food pyramid to guide your diet choices (see below) and remember that if you need to snack fruit, nuts and yogurts can be quick, easy and nutritious options. Follow a list and never shop on an empty stomach - otherwise you could end up buying a lot more than needed! Some of us now have a little bit more time on our hands so why not try to cook some new dishes – they don’t have to be complicated and you might learn something new!


You can find some example meal plans on the HSE website here.

4. Stay hydrated

We can sometimes forget about fluids - especially when our routine and environment has changed.  Aim to have 8 glasses of water each day. If you  dislike plain water, you could always try adding some sugar-free cordial. Being well hydrated can help concentration, prevent fatigue and support good health.

5. Get enough sleep

When we are tired, we often turn to convenient, comfort foods which are usually high in fat, sugar and salt. To avoid this, aim to get 8 hours of sleep every night. Exercise also improves sleep so try to get moving daily. As well as getting moving or going for a walk, try to put down the phone before you get into bed. We can all get lost scrolling for hours without even realising the time passing!


Useful References

Department of Health.,(2016) 'The Food Pyramid ', available here. 

Healthy Ireland (2016) ‘A Healthy Weight for Ireland Obesity Policy and Action Plan 2016-2025’, The Stationery Office, Dublin, 16-77, available here.

Food On A Low Income - Executive Summary. (2011). 1st ed. [ebook] Dublin: Safefood, p.24. Available.