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Anti-Stress Diet

When life gets hard it is oh-so tempting to grab something sweet, salty, greasy, or crunchy -- and all too often, high in calories. Here's what to eat instead, to boost energy and ease tension without widening your waistline.

By Karen Ansel, RD

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apple and sandwich
David Prince
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Traffic Jam Stress

Stress Case: You were stuck in a Saturday afternoon traffic jam and now you're home, ravenous and on edge. Standing in front of the fridge, you prepare to dive into last night's leftover Chinese.

Comfort Food: Wolfing down that salt-laden takeout is only going to drive your blood pressure even higher. Instead, opt for a roast beef sandwich, guaranteed to reenergize you for the rest of the day. Roast beef delivers iron and protein, two must-have nutrients for resiliency. Protein provides you with endurance, while iron (a mineral that many women don't get enough of) helps boost your mental muscle, so you're more efficient and less frenzied. In fact, researchers at Penn State University found that women with robust iron stores completed mental challenges faster and more accurately than women who were iron deficient. Pair that roast beef with a couple slices of rye and you'll get 20 percent of the iron you need in a day.

Mellow Meal: Mix 1 tablespoon reduced-calorie mayo with 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish. Spread over 2 slices of rye bread and top with 3 ounces lean roast beef, lettuce, tomato, and red onion. Enjoy with a crisp apple -- the crunchier the better -- for chewing away any lingering stress. (418 calories; 10g fat; 2g saturated fat)

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