When stress hits, comfort foods can be irresistible and more often than not, it can lead to making an impulsive choice that doesn’t actually leave you feeling happy and satiated. Indeed, if it’s a sweet snack, it is more likely to leave you craving more in no time.
As one-offs, that’s not a problem, but if you’re under pressure and not focusing on your food choices, you can find yourself developing unhealthy eating habits that become harder and harder to shift.
Let’s get the mindset right first…
- It’s essential to establish alternative coping mechanisms. First and foremost, try to recognise the triggers that might encourage you to eat simply because you are under stress.
- Identifying the stressors and understanding emotional cues can help you be more proactive in addressing the root of the problem.
- Consider using stress management techniques such as mindfulness, deep breathing exercises, or my favourite go-to…physical activity. Whether it’s a brisk walk outdoors or an online exercise session, redirecting your focus away from emotional eating and engaging in activities that bring joy or relaxation can help you manage stress without turning to comfort foods.
- Hobbies, calling a friend for a chat or a hot bath at the end of the day can also help you manage your stress
On a more practical level to help you avoid reaching for these foods during stressful times:
- Stock up on nourishing, satisfying, and healthier foods. Having these nutrient-dense alternatives like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein-rich snacks are far more likely to satiate and will help you steer clear of the empty calories typically found in comfort foods.
- Establish a meal routine so that you stick to mealtimes and ensure that your meals are balanced. This will help regulate your blood sugar levels and avoid the blood sugar lows that stimulate the hunger pangs that are difficult to avoid. It’s difficult not to reach for quick-fix, high-sugar or high-fat options when you’re craving and your blood sugars are low.
- Plan and prep meals in advance as far as possible during calmer moments, when you can ensure healthy balanced meals and snacks/. It’s far easier to make a good choice if it’s available and convenient.
- Seek support from friends, family, or a professional during stressful times. Help and expert guidance can offer easy solutions to reduce your stress, boost your ability to cope and ultimately reduce the urge for emotional eating.
For expert guidance to get you off that comfort eating rollercoaster, I recommend my 6-week Health Improvement Programme. We’ll get to the root cause, and establish new healthy habits with clear guidance on what to eat and what to avoid. Get in touch to chat further.