4 Healthy Snacks Every Stress Eater Should Keep On Hand
If the events of January had you stress-eating your way through tubs of ice cream and bags of chips, you’re not alone.
In high-stress situations, many folks turn to food for comfort.
But now that we’re into February and (hopefully) more settled, it’s important to curb those behaviors, so that unhealthy eating doesn’t become a habit.
Now before you go clearing out your pantry and tossing the “junk,” pause.
Rather than doing a complete 180 at the start, I always recommend folks go slowly as they get back on the path to better eating.
And one of the easiest ways to do that is with some simple food swaps.
By making a few healthy substitutions, you can eat healthier, without depriving yourself of flavor.
If you’re a fan of greasy, salty chips, try snacking on nuts instead.
Chips are not only high in saturated fat and calories, they’re also packed with sodium which can send your blood pressure soaring.
Nuts, on the other hand, are chock full of nutrients like omega-3s, vitamin E, magnesium, fiber, and phytosterols.
They’re also low in saturated fat and contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.
As an added bonus, nuts will make you feel full and satisfied… so you’re less likely to overindulge later in the day.
Just remember that a few nuts go a long way.
A handful of nuts is plenty to tide you over as a snack.
Are you a chocolate lover?
Opt for dark chocolate over milk chocolate.
Dark chocolate has been shown to support healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
And like nuts, promotes satiety… so you feel fuller longer and are less likely to overeat later.
Milk chocolate contains none of these benefits.
Chocolate is high in calories, so experts only recommend consuming about a half ounce to an ounce a day.
Look for a variety with a high cacao content (at least 70%).
The higher the cacao content, the higher percentage of antioxidants per serving.
If pasta is your go-to comfort food, swap out traditional spaghetti for spaghetti squash or spiralized vegetable “noodles,” like zucchini or carrots.
And top your “pasta” off with homemade sauce instead of sauce from a jar.
Pre-made sauces are often loaded with salt, sugar and preservatives to keep it shelf stable.
But a homemade sauce with tomatoes, herbs and spices can give you loads of nutrients, without the additives and extra calories.
Craving ice cream?
Try a frozen banana, instead.
Peel a ripe banana and cut it into evenly-sized slices.
Put the slices in a freezer bag and freeze for at least 2 hours. Overnight is better.
Once frozen, blend your banana pieces until you have a creamy, custard-like texture.
Eat the banana then, or re-freeze to firm it up.
Enjoy the fat-free, sweet tasty treat with about a third the calories of premium ice cream.
Eating healthier doesn’t mean you have to live on salads and veggie sticks all day.
Enjoy your favorite foods, in moderation.
And, swap out some of the less wholesome foods in your diet with more nutrient-dense alternatives and you’ll be on the right path to a healthier living.