Fight Stress with simple food. Stress is an unavoidable part of everyday life. From work deadlines to relationship issues, it can sometimes feel like we are constantly under pressure. While a certain amount of stress is normal, chronic stress can take a toll on both your mental and physical health. One of the ways chronic stress manifests itself is through poor dietary choices. When we’re overwhelmed, we often reach for sugary, fatty comfort foods that make us feel good in the moment but cause more harm than good over time. The good news is, adjusting your diet is an effective way to manage stress levels and promote overall wellbeing. Here are 7 tips to fight stress with healthy eating:
- Eat breakfast every day to maintain proper blood sugar levels
- Carry healthy snacks like trail mix to avoid energy crashes
- Drink green tea instead of coffee to reduce caffeine intake
- Replace chips with carrots, celery, or sunflower seeds
- Drink at least 8 cups of water daily to flush out toxins
- Bring your own healthy lunch to work or school
- Stock up on nutritious foods at home
When we’re stressed, many of us tend to make poor food choices that can actually increase stress levels and cause other health issues. The tips below will help you get the most nutrition and stress-relief from your diet.
Eat Breakfast Every Day
Even if you don’t feel hungry first thing in the morning, it’s important to eat something for breakfast. Skipping breakfast makes it difficult to maintain proper blood sugar levels throughout the day. Consistent blood sugar is key to avoiding energy crashes, mood swings, and fatigue. Even a small breakfast like oatmeal or a hardboiled egg can make a big difference in how you feel later on.
Carry Healthy Snacks
Bringing protein-rich snacks like trail mix, granola bars, or energy bars with you ensures you always have access to an energy-boosting nibble. Keep them in your car, bag, desk drawer, or pocket so you can conveniently refuel when your energy starts flagging. Healthy snacking prevents your blood sugar levels from taking a dive, keeping you alert and focused.
Drink Green Tea
Caffeinated drinks like coffee and soda can overstimulate your body, leading to jitters and crashes that increase feelings of stress and anxiety. Gradually reducing your caffeine intake can help stabilize your energy levels. Replace a cup of coffee with soothing, antioxidant-rich green tea. The moderate amount of caffeine provides a gentle energy boost without the intense ups and downs.
Swap Unhealthy Munchies for Healthy Alternatives
When stress has you craving salty or sugary snacks, choose nutritious alternatives instead. Carrot sticks, celery sticks, edamame, and sunflower seeds all make satisfying munchies. The fiber, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats help regulate your blood sugar and keep you feeling energized.
Drink at least 8 cups of water per day to help flush out stress hormones and other toxins from your body. Being even mildly dehydrated can worsen feelings of fatigue and moodiness. Sipping water throughout the day keeps you optimally hydrated, energized, and better equipped to handle stress.
Bring Your Lunch to Work
Eating out for lunch every day may seem convenient, but homemade lunches are often healthier and cheaper. Use part of your Sunday to prep and pack lunches for the work week ahead. Incorporate lean protein, veggies, whole grains, fruits, and healthy fats into your brown bag meals for a nutritious midday refuel.
Stock Your Kitchen with Healthy Staples
The best way to ensure healthy meals is to keep your kitchen stocked with nutritious ingredients. Take time each week to plan healthy meals and snacks, make a grocery list, and do a comprehensive shop to stock up on items like whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils. Having healthy ingredients on hand makes good eating habits much easier to maintain when stress strikes.
Following a diet focused on whole, energizing foods can make a big difference in your resilience to stress. When your nutritional needs are met consistently, your mind and body are better equipped to handle whatever life throws your way. Try out some of the tips above to eat your way to lower stress levels and improved wellbeing.
Frequently Asked Questions About Fight Stress
Q: What are some good proteins to eat for breakfast?
A: Great breakfast protein sources include eggs, Greek yogurt, nut butters, protein smoothies made with protein powder, and high-protein grains like oats and quinoa.
Q: How can I drink more water during the day?
A: Carry a refillable water bottle with you and set reminders to drink water at regular intervals. Infusing your water with fruits or herbs can make it more appealing too.
Q: What are some easy healthy lunches I can pack for work?
A: Some easy lunch ideas include turkey wraps, veggie quinoa bowls, Greek yogurt with berries, tuna salad with whole grain crackers, and leftovers like soup or chili.
Q: What are the best snacks for an energy boost?
A: Some energizing snack options include trail mix, peanut butter on apple slices, hummus with veggies, Greek yogurt with granola, bananas with nut butter, and hard boiled eggs.
Q: How can I motivate myself to meal prep on Sundays?
A: Make healthy meal prep a fun family activity, put on your favorite music while you cook, or prep with a friend to pass the time faster and hold each other accountable.