How to Keep Stress from Affecting Your Waistline

Warm chocolate chip cookies, fresh-baked bread, a hamburger and French fries…anyone craving these foods more as we continue to stay home? Life looks different and uncertain these days and many of us feel worried and anxious. So, it is no surprise that sales of fast food and processed foods, such as chips and cookies, have skyrocketed. It is common to turn to these as comfort foods during uncertain times. Food represents comfort and connection and nourishes us in important ways. Follow the tips below to help avoid stress eating during uncertain times.

Southeast Dairy Association - strawberry parfait
  • Eat every three to four hours: Going too long without eating allows hunger to sneak up on you. Eating regularly helps prevent overeating at the next meal and may be the difference between you preparing a healthy meal versus ordering not-so-healthy takeout. 
  • Protein is important: Meats, dairy foods and eggs have high-quality protein that keep you feeling satisfied and energized longer. Try a Greek yogurt parfait in the morning for staying power until lunch. When that 3 pm craving strikes, try whole-grain crackers with sharp cheddar cheese.
  • Avoid excess alcohol calories: During these stressful times, alcohol sales have dramatically increased. Alcohol and mixers have a lot of calories per ounce and can contribute to extra pounds if you are not aware. Enjoy your glass of wine on occasion, but try out some “mocktail” recipes for lower-calorie drinks that hydrate.
  • Keep moving: Stress can make watching television more appealing than moving. However, exercise produces endorphins that improve mood. Get outside and walk, work in the garden or ask a friend to join you in completing an online workout (many are free right now). Have virtual “check-ins” for accountability and a fun way to stay connected. 
  • Stay busy: More time at home has me enjoying the calming effect of needlework. My hands stay busy and I am not eating! Organize a closet, clean out a drawer or finish a project on your to-do list. Getting things “crossed off” is satisfying and productive!   

As we continue to adjust to this unprecedented time, food should be appreciated for more than just keeping us fed. Enjoy a variety of foods as you manage stress to stay healthy and avoid the “Quarantine 15.” Need healthy recipes? Click here to find satisfying and nutrient-rich recipes for every meal.