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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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salmon on bagel
David Prince
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Morning Stress

Stress Case: Your kids drag their feet, so you barely get them to school on time. Starving and mad, you're ready to hit the drive-thru.

Comfort Food: When you're peeved, a fat-filled breakfast is the last thing you need. Researchers from Penn State gave volunteers either a low-fat breakfast or a high-fat, fast-food meal and then had them do stressful tasks. When they compared each group's blood pressure, the fast-food eaters had consistently higher numbers. So head to your nearest deli for a whole wheat bagel with smoked salmon. Two ounces of salmon provide 1 gram of omega-3s, believed to decrease anger and aggression and brighten your mood. How? The beneficial fats prompt your brain to produce more serotonin, a chemical that calms and promotes feelings of well-being. The bagel has fiber and complex carbs that are digested slowly for a prolonged energy release to keep you on an even keel.

Mellow Meal: Top a whole wheat bagel with 2 teaspoons honey mustard, 2 slices of tomato, and 2 ounces of smoked salmon. (410 calories; 8g fat; 1g saturated fat)

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