It’s stress awareness month! Click here for relaxing tips and tricks on fitness, nutrition, mind-body-spirit, and skin care.
Here’s some food for thought: For many of us, when we’re stressed, eating brings us comfort (that’s why they call it “comfort food,” right?). And for me, comfort food means macaroni and cheese, chocolate cake, and potato chips…not exactly healthy. So we asked Susan Piergeorge, nutritionist at Golden Door in San Marcos, California, to serve up fantastic tips to stay nutritious even while we’re stressed.
Consume some carbohydrates. “Whether it’s fruit and nuts/nut butter, cereal and milk, cheese and crackers, or half a sandwich, carbohydrates help to release serotonin into the brain, which can have a calming effect,” Piergeorge says. “Your best bet are the complex carbs, which are found in fruits, vegetables, starchy vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. And, be sure to have a little protein with it (meat, dairy, nuts, starchy beans) to ensure the snack sticks with you.”
Have a cup of broth-based soup. “Soup can be a comfort food, as well as satisfy hunger. Examples include minestrone, chicken, or turkey noodle, vegetable or lentil,” she offers.
Enjoy a cup of homemade cocoa. “Here’s an easy recipe that you can keep in a container at work, home or in your purse: two tablespoons powdered milk and one teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder. Just add hot water and sweetener of choice. Or, just skip the sweetener and add spices such as cinnamon, cloves, chile pepper, or extracts such as peppermint, vanilla, almond, or coconut. Cocoa powder has calming effects on the brain, is healthy for skin, and may have the potential to lower blood pressure in some individuals. This beverage can just melt the stress away,” Piergeorge shares.
Savor a cup of herbal tea. “Chamomile, lemon balm or valerian are a few herbal tea varieties that have been associated with having a calming effect when consumed,” she continues.