Healthy Eating Choices

How To Eat Healthy When You Are Stressed

Finding it hard to make healthy eating choices when you’re going through a stressful time?  Don’t worry, you aren’t the only one.  There’s no judgment here.  Sometimes we just want to soothe our sorrows with that thick slice of chocolate cake or a bowl of our favorite ice cream.  

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying your favorites now and then but you must make sure not to overindulge.  Our food choice can be negatively affected by stress - how much we eat, how often we eat, when we eat, and what we eat.   

Making healthy eating choices is key to good stress management because our body needs the right nutrients and minerals from food to help fight the negative effects of stress.

Making Healthy Eating Choices

Pay attention to your food while you eat - chew your food slowly and ensure you are not distracted while eating.  This will prevent over-eating.

Stay away from bad fat - being under a lot of stress and having a high cholesterol level is a deadly combination that can lead to heart disease and stroke.  Therefore it is recommended that you reduce your consumption of animal fat and saturated fats.  Saturated fats are found in items like butter, high fat cheese, whole milk and red meat.  Based on a 2000 calorie diet, an average size adult should consume between 33 and 67 grams of fat.  As much as possible your diet should be no more than 30% fat (preferably unsaturated fat from vegetable oils, low-fat cheese, 2 percent or skim milk).

Eat lots of fruits and vegetables - enjoy rich and colourful fruits and vegetables.  Be sure to eat in-season fruits.  Some people find it hard to eat raw vegetables.  So why not combine the fruits and vegetables in a delicious easy-to-drink smoothie or green juice - quick and easy ways to have the daily required fruits and veggies.

Cut back on sugar, salt and refined foods - for that sweet tooth, enjoy in moderation raisins, prunes, dried figs, dates and honey.

Choose natural foods over processed foods - instead of white rice and bread and refined flour choose whole grain bread, brown rice and whole wheat flour.

Drink lots of water - water is essential to flushing toxins from the body, lubricating our organs and restoring fluid lost through sweating and urination. Drinking at least 6 glasses of water daily is recommended.  

Finding it hard to get in the recommended 6?  Try this method:

  • Drink 2 glasses of water after waking up to activate internal organs
  • Drink 1 glass of water 30 minutes before a meal to help digestion
  • Drink 1 glass of water before showering to reduce blood pressure
  • Drink 1 glass of water before going to bed to avoid stroke or heart attack

This method takes care of 5 of the 6 recommended daily water intake.  The rest can be had in your fruits and vegetables.  You can also put on a timer on your phone to remind you to drink water and there are even Apps to help keep you on track.

Maintain a healthy weight - know your limits.  Do not overeat.   Sometimes all your body craves is water not food.  If you feel hungry, try having a glass of water first.  

  • Instead of 3 large meals, break it up into 6 smaller meals, having each meal 3  hours apart.  This will speed up your metabolic rate and help burn fat.            
  • Your last meal of the day should be 3 hours before bedtime.
  • If you have to dine out eat at healthy restaurants rather than fast-food joints.  
  • Plan your shopping list and never shop when you are hungry.                            
  • Prepare meals ahead of time and store them away in convenient containers in your fridge.                                                                                                          
  • Be more active. Exercise for at least 20 minutes 5 – 6 days a week.

Adopt these small changes geared towards making healthy eating choices and you will see a big difference in how you handle stress and also on your scale.

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