Stress eating happens to everyone and what you reach for in those critical moments of comfort-searching can influence your mood, for better or for worse. Here are some foods that can help satisfy your cravings without eating complete junk.
Made from legumes, hummus is rich in nutrients like folate, magnesium, zinc, and fiber. Not only will this help keep you full, but it may also help improve your mood.
A natural source of antioxidants and polyphenols, frozen grapes will satisfy your sweet tooth while keeping you busy. They take a while to eat, so they’re also a good distraction from what’s stressing you out.
If you’re the type of person who craves a crunchy bite when you’re not feeling 100%, and you’re not allergic, try walnuts or almonds. Whether they’re salted, cocoa-dusted, or BBQ flavored, not only will you need to crunch be satisfied, but you’ll also get a nice helping of magnesium, healthy fats, protein, and fiber.
When you’re stressed, it’s important to feed your body foods that will keep your energy stable and raise cognitive function. Plain whole-milk Greek yogurt is a strong source of probiotic bacteria that may boost gut health. Adding chia seeds or ground flax seeds for fiber and fresh berries for antioxidants makes for a powerful pick-me-up.
Not only is orange juice a refreshing treat on a hot summer day, the vitamin C boost may do your stress some good. Enjoy either a fresh orange, or an 8-ounce glass of 100% pure orange juice as a natural stress reliever.
Reaching for a tub of ice cream may be your initial instinct, but consider this healthier alternative. Frozen fruit pops can be just as sweet as ice cream or frozen yogurt, without the added sugar. They’re refreshing, satisfying, and can come in as many flavors as you want. They’re also fun to make at home, so they’re easy to keep on hand for when those stressful days hit you out of nowhere.
This popular drink has a unique flavor that is best enjoyed when sipped slowly and mindfully. Often considered a treat, Kombucha is a fermented food that many believe nourishes the gut and may help improve mood. So, next time anxiety hits, pour a small glass and allow yourself some time to drop all obligations and be one with your Kombucha.
If you’re more of a traditional tea drinker, stocking up on some tulsi tea may be a good investment for those hectic days. Pairing a warm glass with ginger, rose, or lemon can help to calm your mood and relax your body. As drinking tea is often considered a ritual of savory sips, it’s likely that checking out with a cuppa (sp?) will be just what you need to tackle the rest of your day.
It’s very possible that you’ll be craving something sweet when you’re stressed, and satisfying that craving may be the only thing on your mind. Indulging in a piece of dark chocolate with 70% cocoa is a low-sugar, nutrient-dense way to satisfy that desire.
If, at the end of the day, you really do just need a taste of an old-school cheat meal, baked fries are your answer. Make them at home with a dash of salt and they may actually help to improve your mood. Since the homemade version is definitely healthier than its fast food counterpart, the carbohydrates in the potatoes may provide some stress-relief while also satisfying your caving.
Next time you get a stress-induced craving, don’t try to ignore it. Remember these healthy, ways to satisfy your need for a little comfort food and move on to finish your day on a high note.