When you are feeling stressed, you are far more likely to reach for something comforting—not necessarily something healthy. But, when you do this, you are only satisfied for a short time, and because the snacks you are reaching for are more likely to be unhealthy choices, they can leave you feeling less alert, fatigued, and disappointed in your choices—all things that lead to even more stress.
Instead of grabbing for something sugary or high-fat, think about reaching for fibre-rich carb snacks with a little bit of satisfying fat or protein. This can help prevent a blood sugar crash later in the day, which can lead to a vicious cycle of unhealthy snacking.
Here are 10 suggestions for you to try when you feel like having a “stress snack”:
1. Ants on a Log
On two stalks of celery, spread two tablespoons of almond butter and 1 tablespoon of raisins. This is a delicious snack that contains healthy, energizing carbohydrates, fibre to fill you up, healthy fats, and protein.
2. Herbal Tea
Herbal teas have long been used to help people relax and calm down. Chamomile is one that is most commonly used to treat anxiety and irritability. For a more focused calm, try green tea, which contains a specific amino acid (L-theanine) and can help reduce stress.
3. Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds
Dark chocolate has an intense flavour and enough sweetness to help reduce cravings for unhealthy foods. Eat up to one ounce per day to help control stress hormones.
4. Homemade Energy Bites
Mix together ½ cup chopped dates, ¼ cup rolled oats, and ½ cup nut butter. Press into a pan and cut into 12-14 pieces. These delicious little snacks can help with cravings by keeping blood sugar stable, be a great addition to a healthy breakfast, or the perfect snack while on the go.
5. Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich
Make this treat open-faced style, with one slice of whole wheat toast, one tablespoon of peanut butter, and ½ of a banana, sliced. Drizzle a little honey over the top, and enjoy this tasty but healthy treat that reminds us of childhood and can offer some comfort.
6. Flavoured Water
Add cucumber slices or fruit slices to your seltzer water or even tap water, to create a taste infusion that helps reduce stress and adds some nutrients to your plain water. Since we often feel hungry when we are actually dehydrated, try these interesting drink options and see if maybe you really needed to rehydrate, not reach for junky snacks!
7. Veggies and Dip
Dipping sliced carrots or celery in hummus or guacamole makes you feel full without adding unhealthy calories or unnecessary fats. This is a delicious snack that will keep you satisfied for a while.
8. Mini Parfait
Combine ½ cup yoghurt, ½ cup blueberries, and 1 ounce of chopped nuts in a dish. Dairy products, like yoghurt, add calcium and protein and help your body release the kinds of neurotransmitters that make you feel good.
9. Curry-Roasted Chickpeas
Instead of reaching for chips, opt for crunchy and tasty, guilt-free roasted chickpeas. Try sprinkling curry on, or other spices that you enjoy!
10. Trail Mix
Combine 1 ounce of walnuts with one tablespoon of dried cranberries or raisins and add one tablespoon of chocolate chips. The walnuts help soothe your stress, and the trail mix gives you plenty of protein and is satisfying.
Don’t reach for unhealthy snacks when you can reduce your stress with healthy choices that give you nutrients and satisfy your cravings without leading to a vicious cycle of low blood sugar and reaching for junk food.