For some of us, stress eating can be avoided and replaced by diving into other activities or hobbies such as fishing, drawing, knitting, or wood working. For others, replacing the need to eat with an activity just doesn’t work. If you are someone who can only relieve their stress with food, the best thing to do is to substitute that comfort food with healthier options. Below are some tips to help control how much you stress eat:
- Smaller portions. Rather than eating the whole entire pizza, buy one individual slice. If you want ice cream, go out and buy one scoop instead of buying an entire pint or half gallon. Doing this will make you less likely to stress eat the whole thing.
- Put your food in a small bowl. If you are someone who stress eats small finger foods, such as chips or m&ms, try taking a small handful out of the bag and putting it into a small bowl. Put the bag away and walk away from it. Once you finish what is in your bowl, you won’t have any more to binge eat. This practice helps to suppress the need to mindlessly eat and eat until the whole bag is gone.
- Drink flavored or sparkling water. Many of us love to drink sugary juices or pops to help calm our nerves and relieve stress. By drinking flavored or sparkling water, you will still get that sweet taste that juice and pop have but it will be healthier since it is water.
- Wait 20 minutes after you finish eating before going back for seconds. Research shows that it takes your body at least 20 minutes to show signs of hunger or fullness. So, before you go back and fill your plate, wait and see if your body tells you it needs more.
- Allow yourself to have a small piece but convince yourself that’s all you want. Sometimes the more you restrict yourself from eating certain foods, the more your body will crave them, and eventually, you might give in and over eat. So, allow yourself to have a little piece of chocolate or a small bowl of chips. But also remind yourself that is all you need and close the bag.
Below you will find some healthier food options to always keep on hand, especially when you know you are heading into a stressful time of the year like the holidays:
- Sliced veggies with Greek yogurt ranch dip
- String cheese
- Mixed nuts
- Apple slices with peanut butter
- Cherry tomatoes with mozzarella and basil
- Sugar free jello
- Sugar free popsicles
- Flavored or sparkling water
- Dark chocolate
What do you do to prevent yourself from stress eating? Comment below.