You CAN eat yourself back to health. Try these easy and delicious ways to power through stress.
When you're upset about work, finances, health, kids or relationships, do you tend to grab a candy bar or binge on Cheetos or other unhealthy junk foods? My escape-food-of-choice when dealing with anxiety has always been something either sweet or crunchy in the form of chocolate or pretzels.
But stuffing emotions and mindlessly eating poor snacks neither solves the problems nor satisfies the body's needs. In fact, the practice is harmful.
It can cause inflammation which breaks down the immune system and makes you feel even worse. More importantly if the behavior persists, it can lead to a host of illnesses.
I'm not suggesting following a restrictive diet, but I do recommend making nutritious choices. Food fuels the body and helps the brain function more optimally.
Choose wholesome foods so you'll have more energy and think more clearly to handle stressful situations. A side bonus is that you'll conquer food cravings and likely avoid overeating, food addictions or weight gains.
Snacks should be small portions that fit in the palm of your hand to be used between meals, not in place of meals.
As a guideline, most nutritionists recommend under 200 calories per snack. I'm not an advocate of calorie-counting; I'm more in favor of choosing mindfully from today's superfoods.
Whole fruits are high in fiber, low in fat and provide good vitamins and minerals. Apples, bananas, blueberries, grapes, oranges, strawberries are all excellent choices. I prefer organic to avoid toxic chemicals.
A handful of nuts such as almonds, cashews, pistachios or walnuts offers a protein-rich boost.
For a different bang for the bite, veggies such as carrot sticks, cucumber slices, Edamame, or green beans provide a quick pick-me-up. I even like raw peas.
These are good to prepare in small baggies so you can take them to work or keep them in a bowl in the refrigerator for easy availability.
Avoid heavily processed or packaged quick-fix snacks.
Some "power bars" on the market contain high amounts of sugar, which will give you a short-term energy boost, but afterwards you'll crash and drag. Furthermore, sugar feeds inflammation and should be reduced and eliminated.
Also avoid high-fat snacks like chips, cookies or pastries. Get rid of the cookie jar or fill it with nuts.
My Personal Favorites
My days are very physically demanding, so I always have a container of nuts in my car. As I drive, I get a much-needed energy charge from a handful of almonds or cashews.
At home, I like sliced organic apples or celery spread with peanut or almond butter for the protein, fiber and minerals.
I have a weakness for chocolate so I opt for dark chocolate with beneficial antioxidant flavonoids.
Dehydrated bananas are delicious and taste like banana bread to me. They last a long time and can stay in my tennis or golf bag. But, admittedly, they take a lot of work and require a dehydrator.
To integrate better balance and keep your energy powered throughout the day, prepare snacks ahead of time. Keep them convenient.
You'll save money, feel better and you'll be naturally helping to relieve the stressors of the day!
Peggy Sealfon is a personal development coach and author of the forthcoming book Escape from Anxiety—Supercharge Your Life with Powerful Strategies from A to Z. Contact her at Peggy@StonewaterStudio.com. Feeling unsettled and anxious? Try her FREE audio to reduce stress and handle your challenge more effortlessly.