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Eating Well During Times of Stress
Thank you to our own amazing Haley Willison, RD, clinical dietician, for this information.
You may be experiencing emotional eating during this time of anxiety and change. It is very common to be drawn to comfort foods that are high in fat and sugar because of how you are feeling, whether its feeling anxious, overwhelmed, or bored. Comfort foods can bring some normalcy in the midst of crisis and change, so give yourself permission to have those comfort foods and to take some shortcuts at mealtime if you find yourself too stressed out to cook. Be kind to yourself during these unprecedented times, they are called comfort foods for a reason. Sometimes by trying to avoid them completely we cause more anxiety and stress.
That being said, there are strategies you can use to help fuel your body with nutritious food. First is to create a sense of structure by eating at consistent times of day, enjoying your meal or snack at the table instead of the TV or computer, eating from a bowl or a plate instead of straight out of the box or bag, and having healthy options available in your home.
A second suggested strategy is to a make a food buying plan: buy creating a list of what you need for the week it helps you stay the course and get in and out the store quickly. Consider your storage space before buying large amounts of food. Aim to get as many of our food groups in the day as possible and try to work this goal into your grocery store list. Obviously buying more shelf stable foods are going to help stretch the days between grocery store trips, but don’t let this to allow you ignore your fruits and vegetables.
Here are a few tips for buying fruits and vegetables that will last longer: Citrus (orange, clementine, grapefruit), bananas, and apples usually last longer than berries or stone fruits. Buy both ripe and unripe (green) bananas so that you can enjoy them for longer. Root vegetables (carrots, turnips, beets, onions), cruciferous (cabbage broccoli, cauliflower), as well as squash tend to last a lot longer as well. And, when fresh produce starts to go bad, freeze it!