Do you immediately crave comfort food when stress hatchets your happiness? Reaching for your preferred foods—whether they are high-carb, sugary, fatty, salty, creamy, or crunchy—can certainly make you feel better in the short-run, but if your level of stress has you frequently noshing on high calorie comfort foods, you’re going to create another source of stress: weight gain. Here are five healthy stress-busting foods that offer long-term comfort without the need to worry about your waist.
Despite your stress-driven proclivity for large helpings of pasta, make a small pasta side and partner it with a fish fillet, particularly tuna or salmon. Not only is fish a lean quality source of protein, it will help stabilize your blood sugar levels, which rollercoaster in response to stress. The tasty abundance of omega-3s in cold-water fatty fish also offers anti-inflammatory factors that can protect your stress-strained heart. Ditch the high-carb comfort foods and try a tuna sandwich, broiled salmon with fresh fruit salsa, or tilapia cakes with yogurt sauce.
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When stress strikes and you get the shivers, soothe your soul with a warm, wonderful curry dish. Not only is curry a delectable combination of flavorful spices, it is also considered a heart healthy and brain-boosting condiment, perfect for protecting your heart against stress and giving you dietary support to stay focused when stress threatens to leave you scatterbrained.
Bananas, rich in B-vitamins and potassium, are super convenient to pack in your purse and peel when your stress levels start ratcheting upward. Research shows that B-vitamin deficiencies can lead to feeling stressed, anxious, and even depressed while a deficiency in potassium can lead to heart problems.
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Whole grain bread
When stress launches your supercharged carb cravings, reach for whole grain breads before the jumbo bakery muffins or, worse, the box of highly-processed baked goods. Whole grain bread is higher in healthy complex carbohydrates, including fiber, as well as B-vitamins, which can help you deal with stress. For a quick and easy comfort food treat, spread almond butter on a piece of toast and top it off with fresh fruit for an extra dose of smart-carb nutrition.
If your everyday level of stress is high, just wait for PMS to hit and your ability to manage stressors may just plummet. The calcium and vitamin D in dairy-rich foods have been shown to ease PMS symptoms, such as mood swings and irritability, and can do double-duty by helping you fight fat and stay slim and trim despite your seemingly uncontrollable desire to emotionally (over)eat. The rich, creaminess of Greek-style yogurt may be all you need to soften the sharp edges of a stress-fueled bad mood.
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