Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Healthiest Boredom Foods

Are you a boredom eater?

No? Really?

Are you unable to watch TV without munching on something? Is the excitement of a road trip partially due to potential gas station snacks? Do you use food to pass the time at an especially boring job? How about when you can't sleep at night, do you find yourself perusing the refrigerator?

Be honest now...

That's what I thought.

I'll admit, boredom eating is a tough habit to break, or as I explained in this post, Psychological Aspects of Weight Loss, a tough habit to cover up. But while you're trying to break it no sense it completely blowing it any healthy progress you've already made.

First of all, we all know it's never a good idea to eat any time other than when you're hungry, but c'mon, let's be realistic here. Sometimes you're going to be in positions where the option of taking a break to get something to eat is basically non-existent. I understand what you're going through; I drive around in a little truck for 10 hours a day, remember?

So what exactly makes a good boredom food? Basically, something that takes up a lot of time while also adding up to a fairly low calorie count, and a really good boredom food combines the physical activity of destroying something with comfort of getting a treat for your troubles. Something small, where either your mouth or hands are busy the entire time, taking care of the fidgety part of the brain that so desperately needs to be satisfied. In general, you want something that is the opposite of potato chips. Think about it, you can scarf them by the handful and they are essentially a collection of everything that's bad for you; calories, fat, oil, sodium, preservatives...(No, I'm not going to allow you some leeway here by saying 'Hey, at least the potato part is good for you'. There's no leeway. They're horrible for you, accept it and move on.).

That may have hurt a little bit, but I promise, it's going to get better. So here's a list of foods much more appropriate for some mindless boredom snacking. I'm not condoning it, but it's better than the alternatives.

1.) Low Sodium Sunflower Seeds in the Shell

Sunflower seeds are a fantastic boredom food. Besides the fact they're loaded with Vitamin E (which in short means they protect against free radicals, among other things), they are rich with specific anti-oxidants in charge of lowering blood sugar levels, as well as protein to satisfy that little bit of hunger you may or may not be experiencing.

Plus a rather large back usually has roughly 2.5 servings, at 190 calories per serving. So even if you down the whole package (which you will probably only make it through half) you won't be seriously destroying your day's healthy eating habits. Not too bad if I say so myself.  Oh and get the low sodium kind. Trust me, you won't miss the extra salt.

2.) Cherries

Cherries are packed with Vitamin C and fiber, but they're especially useful as a night-time snack since they've been rumored to help regulate your sleep cycle. They're sweet, tart, firm and juicy, and 3 cups (let's be honest, boredom snacking never really gives way to portion control) contain only about 230 calories. Win-win, if you ask me.

3.) Steamed Edamame Beans

You may have never had this one, and I wish I could describe to you what edamame (pronounced eh-dah-MAH-may) tastes like, but it's a pretty specific thing. The way I'd have a hard time explaining the way coffee tastes, or licorice. Personally, I absolutely love eating them as a snack, but when put into stir fry? Eh, I prefer them to be left out. Everyone's different though, so I'd say give them a shot.Who knows, you may find yourself completely addicted.

You want to buy them in the pod (as soybeans), then steam them with a little salt and pepper and let them cool. Then if you need to snack on something while watching television, simply focus on getting the beans out of the pod. I'm not even going to go into the nutritional value (it's ridiculously high, google it) and 1.5 cups of shelled edamame beans come to about 330 calories.

4.) String Cheese

This one isn't so much trickery as it is just plain ol' fun to take your time. I know very few people who scarf string cheese in a few bites; most play with it like they did in their elementary school cafeteria, making it last as long as possible. So bring out your inner child and appreciate string cheese for the prize it is: roughly 150 calcium filled calories of glorious time-consuming wonderment.

5.) Pomegranate Seeds

A perfect example of time-consuming and low-calorie, pomegranate seeds are perfect for Sunday movie night. They're just sweet and tart enough to keep you coming back for more, but considering the work you have to do to get to each individual seed, even a whole pomegranate (a "whopping" 105 calories) will probably last you through an entire two hour movie. Plus they're a great source of potassium and vitamin C, meaning they're perfect for a day relaxing sore muscles.

6.) Melon - Not Already Cut Up

This is my personal favorite. When I've had a bad day, I cut a watermelon (or cantaloupe, honeydew, etc) in half and sit on the couch with a spoon and go to town. It takes a lot of work to dig out your own portioned bites, and when you're done you can pick at the rind and graze what you can that's left. As an added bonus, melons are mostly water, so in turn you're going to end up flushing out a lot of unhealthy crap in your system, like preservatives or salt. And being generous, 4 cups of watermelon has roughly 200 calories.

So feel free to go to town with any of these options, sans the guilt and negative side effects. What healthy time-consuming foods do you eat?

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  1. I used to "boredom-snack" while reading or watching TV. Then I started doing crafts while watching TV, so I would have my hands full. That's how I got over the habit. ^^

  2. thanks for stopping by, I'm following back....I deleted the post you commented on (sorry)...It was suppose to have posted yet, it wasn't done. lol OOOps!!

  3. Mmmm. . . great choices! I love cherries and love that it's cherry season right now! The sunflower seeds are perfect for the fidgeting! You nailed this one on the head.

  4. Hi.
    Stopping by from the Tuesday Hop to say hello.
    Have a great day!

  5. Good ideas all. And I find it amusing that I was eating a piece of string cheese while reading :)

  6. Love the list... and at any given time, I usually have at least 3 of them available at home!

    Don't know the nutritional value (though I keep hearing how it's a great antioxident or healthy or something like that... though I just plain love them!), what about pomegranates? They're insanely tedious to pick out (if you're not a practiced pro like my BFF & I) but fun to eat... albeit quite a bit on the messy side if you're paying attention!

  7. Hey - I was going to say pomegranates!

  8. Great idea!! My boredom snack is carrots! I especially like the ones already cut into shapes like chips. I can just eat the whole bag if im not paying attention and still only have like 175 calories!

  9. Oh and string cheese is definitely one of my favorites, too. The kind I buy is light though and so its only 60 calories! Very fun to play with and makes me feel like a kid again. lol

  10. Great suggestion with the pomegranates! They're a perfect fidget food, and insanely healthy (tons of vitamins and antioxidants, low calorie count).

    And it's amazing how the shape of something can change how you think of it. Carrots are a great example: big ones are blah, but the ones shaped like chips are fantastic!

    Great suggestions people!

  11. I could live on watermelon! I also love to have some red grapes around for snacking. :) Thanks for following my blog, I'm happily following you back!

  12. Great suggestions!!! Thanks for stopping by and commenting at Jeremiah 29:11!!!

  13. Great tips! I like the watermelon idea.

    I'm your newest follower. Thanks for stopping by It's the Thought that Counts

  14. hmm...I do believe I may be a boredom snacker! thanks for some healthy alternatives! Popping by from the International Blog Hop! Pop Art Minis

  15. Thanks so much for stopping by and joining in my blog. Great and healthier! Thanks for sharing dear...


  16. Dearest Marlee, you are such a sweetheart! Thank you for the wonderful comments/compliments you posted on my blog. You made my day! Thanks for following me! I'm following you now! Hooray!

  17. I can be a boredom eater but I'm trying to be a conscientious eater!

  18. I LOVE edamame! We discovered it in Japan - where they snack on them with beer! YUMM!!

    Thanks for linking to the Creating Success Worldwide blog hop!! Hope you'll come back again next week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  19. Hi,thanks for following my blog. I'm following you back.

  20. Love edemame and string cheese for snacks. Following you back (finally). Have a great day!

  21. Guilty as charged. I know I'm a snacker and it is so tough to break that habit.

    I need to try Diandra's craft idea.


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