Break Stressful Eating Habits This Year

Author: Shannon Miller Lifestyle

Breaking Food Habits

When your stress level is running high do you find yourself reaching for some of those comfort food items to temporarily try and bring some sort of relief?

You know the ones…

  • candy bars,
  • chips,
  • sodas, anything else that is loaded with sugar and starches.

Many times you are not even hungry, but you are just wanting that quick, comforting feeling.

Most packaged snack foods “make you feel better for a minute, then worse,” says Bethany Thayer, MS, RD, director of wellness programs and strategies at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit and a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Choosing to eat healthy during those stressful times will only benefit you in the long run. Many times the stressful situations will eventually end and then you’re left with those extra pounds from the unhealthy eating habits you have picked up.

Habits can be very hard to break and stress eating is no different. In a book called “The Good Mood Diet” written by Susan Kleiner, PhD, RD, a specialist in nutrition and human performance, there are some really good ideas to help you make better choices so you can avoid even getting into the stressful eating habit.

  1. Build a good nutritional foundation. Don’t wait until the last minute to make a meal. You’ll be super hungry.
  2. Enjoy complex carbohydrates. No white pasta and bread! You’ll crash. Opt for whole wheat or something like oatmeal.
  3. Recognize what’s happening. What are your triggers? When you’re stressed or upset with someone, do you eat a whole bag of chips without thinking, while sitting in front of the TV?
  4. Try a little mindfulness. Be aware of your eating patterns. Eat in the morning. If you’re always hungry in the evening, it means you didn’t consume enough earlier in the day.
  5. Have a Plan B … and C. Enough said.
  6. Fool yourself by replacing chips with crunchy vegetables. Carrots are great, but they, too, have sugar. Celery has been known as the zero calorie snack. Don’t drench them in ranch salad dressing, though!
  7. Have a sweet tooth? Eat natural fruit. Pineapple can never steer you wrong!
  8. Out of sight really does help. We learned that by stashing your soda or candy away from your desk (as in the storage closet, or in the basement) really helps. It makes you second guess if you really want to make the trek for something small.
  9. Call on a substitute – Find alternate ways to deal with the tension. We’ll say it once and we’ll say it again. WALK. Walking relieves stress and lets your mind wander through your issues. You’re able to talk on the phone since you’re not huffing and puffing (as in when you’re running), and then you can track your steps with a pedometer to get free stuff/ incentives with our Walk-Fit Program!

TIP:  Eating small meals regularly throughout the day keeps your mind and body more prepared and ready for those stressful moments. Get rid of those unhealthy snacks that you might be tempted to reach for and replace them with something nutritious like fruits and vegetables.

TIP:  Stress is pretty much a part of life for most of us, and finding healthy ways to deal with it  like proper diet and exercise, will only increase you quality of daily life.

Source:  “Eating Healthfully During Stressful Times”,

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