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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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David Prince
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Checkout Stress

Stress Case: It's your day to bring snacks to soccer. When you stop by the grocery store you find the world's longest checkout line. While waiting, you want to grab a candy bar.

Comfort Food: Your yen for chocolate may be no more than a carbohydrate craving, according to a 2006 Australian study. We crave carbs because they help us produce feel-good serotonin. Swap that fattening and sugary candy for a sweet mix of dried cherries and sunflower seeds. It's easily portable, good for emergency snack attacks. What's more, it's loaded with soothing complex carbs plus antioxidants and vitamin E to fight off infection. Plus, the cherries signal your body to produce its own internal antioxidants, so the benefits remain long after you've eaten the fruit.

Mellow Meal: Put together a stash of premade packs to keep in your pantry, and there will always be one ready to grab on your way out the door. In a plastic bag, toss 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds with 1/4 cup dried cherries. (165 calories; 4g fat; 0g saturated fat)

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