The holidays can be one of the most stressful times of the year for some people. Stress can negatively affect people’s appetites and cause unhealthy eating habits such as seeking comfort in what they eat and skipping meals.
Comfort Foods provide a nostalgic or sentimental feeling to the person eating them. They are often used as a coping mechanism for stress, and consequently, are key contributors to obesity. Some people may find comfort in eating hardy foods such as hamburgers, French fries, or macaroni and cheese; others may find comfort in sweets, like ice cream or chocolate.
We all have trigger foods. In order to avoid overeating these foods try not to keep them in the house or keep them out of sight. Keep healthy options such as fresh fruit, chopped veggies, and nuts readily available. Strawberries dipped in greek yogurt are a good choice for a sweet tooth! OR instead of turning to food when stressed, replace comfort eating with comfort activities such as watching a movie, reading a book, or taking a hot bath.
We can also lose our appetites or forget to eat in times of stress. Our bodies are fueled by the glucose we obtain from foods. Maintaining a normal level of blood glucose is important for brain function, as well as providing energy and regulating our metabolism. After long periods of not eating, you may begin to feel light-headed, shaky, confused, hungry, and irritable. None of these are ideal for a busy day!
Try to have a small snack every few hours in addition to complete meals. If you’re going to be running errands all day, pack a few easy snacks the night before. This will keep your blood sugar stable and prevent the urge to binge during the next meal time.
Stress will not disappear from our lives but below are effective ways to help redirect it.
- Go for a walk outside
- Read a good book
- Watch your favorite movie
- Do yoga
- Take a hot bath
- Call a friend
- Close your eyes and daydream
- Pamper yourself
- Listen to music
What’s your favorite way to deal with stress?