Your workweek stress is leading to this unhealthy weekend habit

What’s the need for a cheat day when you have the weekend?

Weekends full of lavish brunches and bottomless mimosas might feel like a necessity after a long week, and many Americans pig-out on the weekends as a way to fight off stress from the work week, according to a new study.

A survey commissioned by Screamin’ Sicilan Pizza conducted by OnePoll found that two-thirds of Americans say their weekend meals are a “reward” for getting through the week, and more than half of Americans (55%) believe eating is a form of therapy.

The study, which surveyed 2,000 Americans on their eating habits, revealed that 68% of people look forward to their weekend meals due to a stressful week. This, of course, could be elevated due to pandemic stress, which has caused Americans to pack on an average of two pounds per month during the height of lockdowns.

One of the contributing factors to the way we eat is stress, according to the study. Forty-three percent said they feel like they are pushed to their absolute limits by Friday, which left 44% feeling so stressed that they are counting down the hours until the weekend. Stress can impact our food decisions (we’ve known that for a while.), but six in 10 said they will purposely buy easy-to-prepare or pre-made meals at the supermarket for busy or stressful days ahead.

This could be caused by Americans’ hesitancy toward cooking their own meals: 59% percent of respondents said they felt too tired at the end of the day to cook anything, while another 33% said they avoid cooking because they can never make up their mind on what to eat. Thirty-one percent admitted they were lazy and didn’t want to deal with the dishes after.

While health officials always stress the importance of a well-balanced diet, the meals Americans look forward to most suggest no one is getting their daily vegetable intake. Fifty-one percent of respondents said they look forward to eating pizza the most, followed by burgers (38%), pasta (38%), and barbeque (34%) and Asian foods (30%) rounding out the top five.

It’s important to understand that what you eat the day and night before work can affect how productive you are during the day. A recent study found that late-night snacks can create physical problems the next morning, such as headaches, stomach pain, and diarrhea. Poor eating decision could also lead to emotional strain; respondents said they felt guilt or shame about what they ate. Bring all this to the office could influence just how productive you are, according to the study, which found that there were declines in “helping behavior” and increases in “withdrawal behavior.”

“We know that the landscape has changed for all Americans. With many of us working from home the separation of work and home can become challenging. Everyone is looking for a quick and convenient meal solution. These items, like frozen pizzas or strombolis, take the stress out of what to make and provide a great tasting and filling meal that is ready in minutes.” Nick Fallucca, Chief Product & Innovation Officer for Palermo Villa, Inc., said in a statement.

Fallucca said that even though more Americans are working remotely due to the pandemic, that doesn’t necessarily mean they have extra time to prepare meals for lunch, which explains why many are choosing quick and convenient options.

“Frozen foods, like pizza or handheld strombolis, provide an option that is quick and microwavable, that not only tastes good but is filling as well. We believe things like premium ingredients and handheld options are vital to achieving this,” he said.

What meals Americans look forward to most?

1. Pizza: 51%
2. Burgers: 38%
3. Pasta: 38%
4. Barbeque: 34%
5. Asian foods: 30%
6. French fries: 29%
7. Fast food restaurant take out: 26%
8. Mac n cheese: 24%
9. Burritos: 24%
10. Nachos: 24%