Think back to the last time you were stressed out, upset or over-tired. What did you eat? Did you follow the Food Pyramid and eat all that healthy stuff? Or did you reach for donuts, muffins, chips etc? Don’t worry, I’m the same way. Trust me – it’s not uncommon for us to reach for familiar foods when we feel stressed or upset. The good news is you can still have your comfort food – and eat it too, as long as it’s with lighter alternatives.
Here are some examples:
- Instead of a slice of apple pie (350 cal/14g fat), try having a baked apple (100 cal/0g fat)
- Instead of a brownie (227 cal/9g fat) try having ½ a cup of fat-free chocolate pudding (130 cal/ 0g fat)
- Instead of a donut (310 cal/19g fat) try a low fat muffin (160 cal/2g fat)
- Think before you eat. Give yourself 15 minutes before you reach for the home made chocolate chip cookies or your favourite potato chips.
- Write it down. Keeping a journal of your negative feelings and noting the circumstances when you reach for food (other than hunger) can help you identify your triggers. Writing allows you to express your emotions privately.
- Avoid temptation. Don’t carry change for the vending machine, and ignore those office donuts and treats.
- Understand how food comforts you. Some treats, such as chocolate, cause your body to release small amounts of mood-boosting hormones. Over time, you may come to associate a particular food with feeling better.
- Exercise. Staying fit will help you handle stressful situations better. And unlike comfort foods, exercise BURNS rather than adds calories.
Remember folks, changing habits takes time, so be patient with yourself. Have a great day!