Food "Hacks" to Avoid Stress-Eating This Holiday Season
December 15, 2014
Life's curve balls can lead to stress eating if you don't have some strategies in place at home. Here are some of the simple tips I share with my Retrofit weight loss clients to help avoid some common pitfalls this time of year.
- Don't skip breakfast! When you are stressed, it's easy to skip meals or to put them off. But doing so makes it harder to maintain stable blood sugar levels. Furthermore, it puts you at risk for overeating when we do finally eat. And don't settle for a piece of toast! Research suggests that protein intake at breakfast has a greater satiety effect than later meal times, so fix yourself an egg or two, or a Greek yogurt parfait with kiwi slices and low-fat granola.
- Keep a bowl of fruit on the counter so you can easily access it at any time. As for which fruits to choose, selecting those with a high water content is a smart way to go. Studies show water adds heft without adding calories and the fiber in the fruits slows gastric emptying. A few water-rich choices include: grapefruit (91 percent water), oranges (87 percent) and pears (84 percent).
- Remove unhealthy foods. Take an inventory of your food items from the refrigerator, freezer and cabinets that you feel might be too tempting or place them in the back, so they are not in plain sight.
- Switch from coffee to green tea. You may turn to caffeine as a way to cope with daily stresses and fatigue, but it may actually contribute to sleep problems. In addition, caffeine evokes a physiological reaction in the body such as the release of stress hormones or elevated blood pressure, and a Duke University study suggests that caffeine exaggerates stress in people who consume it every day. Instead, fix yourself a cup of green tea, which a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows can lead to a reduction in body fat.
- Cook it up! Make some big batches of healthy soups, stews and/or casseroles that you can freeze and keep on hand for nights when you are too tired to cook. Soup has been shown to increase satiety.
- Wash and cut up veggies and put them at eye level in your fridge. This way when you are looking for something to snack on it will be right in front of you.
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