So many of us struggle with stress eating. The struggle of daily life can feel overwhelming and in an attempt to cope, we stuff our mouths and stomachs with fatty comfort foods. Yet, this only exacerbates the issue. As stress mounts, our waistlines expand and our self-esteem shrinks—but what if there were a way to eat and lose pounds? What if there was a way to eat comfort foods that make us feel don’t just make us feel comfortable, but make us feel better?
There is! Seriously. Here are some fantastic healthy alternatives to traditional ‘comfort foods:’
Oatmeal: Oatmeal has carbs, a LOT of them. Carbs tell your brain to make serotonin. Serotonin=happy hormone. Therefore, if you eat oatmeal, you will be happy. Though this is a simple explanation for why oatmeal is such an awesome substitute, it is more or less the extent of it. Oatmeal also coerces a steady blood sugar response, which one, is great for your waistline and metabolism, and two, means steady serotonin.
Oranges: The beloved fruit of Florida decreases cortisol levels in humans. Cortisol is the body’s number one stress hormone. So more oranges equal less stress. Plus, oranges have been proven to reduce blood pressure levels when people are subject to stressful circumstances.
Turkey: The staple of Thanksgiving boasts an amino acid that goes by L-tryptophan, and L-Tryptophan also triggers serotonin release which means it triggers happy for you.
Salmon: Salmon and many other types of fish have a very large count of omega-3 fatty acids. Although ‘fatty acids’ may not exude undertones of fresh, healthy, nutrition, these do. In fact, they incite a reduction in stress levels when consumed in appropriate servings. According to a study published in none other than the respected Diabetes & Metabolism, omega 3s prevent cortisol events from peaking. Another study conducted in Michigan went so far as to say that omega 3s decrease anxiety by an astounding 20%.
Avocados: Everyone’s new favorite food has wonderful nutritional benefits when consumed in moderation. Their high potassium content helps reduce stress-induced spikes in blood pressure. Although bananas may get all the credit for potassium, avocados actually have more!
These are just a few foods that provide a tremendous alternative to more generic comfort foods. The next time you open the freezer to look for a gallon of ice cream, consider eating something that not only tastes good, but is good for you.