When we’re stressed out, sometimes our diet can be the least of our worries. But we can still eat healthy even during stressful times. Even though we tend to have poor eating habits when we’re stressed out, either eating too much unhealthy food or not eating enough, we can make the most out of healthy foods to help regulate both our mood and our hunger pains. Here are some ideas for snacks that can help when you’re stressed out.
Fruit and Veggie Smoothies
Not only does a tasty smoothie really chill things out with a cold treat in the middle of the day, you can pack them full of fruits and veggies that lower stress levels. Leafy greens like spinach and kale are high in magnesium, which counteracts our stress hormone cortisol. Fruits like bananas, cantaloupe, and oranges that are high in potassium help lower blood pressure, too. Pick your favorites and combine all sorts of these healthy fruits and veggies for a healthy smoothie snack.
Crunchy Veggie Sticks
If you’re tense about something, you might get the urge to eat foods that are crunchy, like chips or popcorn. When you’re feeling frustrated, try snacking on veggies like carrots or celery that give you a satisfying snap when you bite into them. Cut them into smaller sticks and keep them in a plastic container at your desk for moments you find yourself tensing up. Veggie sticks might be particularly helpful if you’re prone to chewing on pens at your desk or clenching your jaw throughout the day, and they’re packed full of nutrients (unlike that mechanical pencil with tooth marks in it!)
Protein Packs a Punch
Some people find that when they’re stressed out about something, they’ll go for long periods of time without feeling normal hunger. This can lead to “forgetting to eat” and upsetting your regular meal routines. But just because your stomach isn’t rumbling, it doesn’t mean that your body and brain don’t need nutritious food. If you feel your energy tanking or your mood getting worse, reach for a snack that is high in protein, like mixed nuts or beef jerky. The energy from the high protein snack will last longer than a sugary, caffeinated soda or coffee, and you’ll feel better emotionally, too.