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
Stress Case: You're wrapping things up at work when your boss dumps a new project on your desk. Searching for something to tide you over for another hour, you head to the vending machine.
Comfort Food: Don't take your frustration out by gobbling nutritionally empty chips. Instead, grab a crunchy snack of almonds and baby carrots. "Crunchy foods release tension the same way that tapping your foot or chewing gum does," says Cindy Moore, RD, director of nutrition therapy at the Cleveland Clinic. "The deliberate action of biting down is an instant anxiety release." This snack provides relief of the nutritional kind too. It's packed with magnesium (22 percent of your daily dose), a mineral that may help you cope under pressure by regulating the stress hormone cortisol.
Mellow Meal: Buy baby carrots already in snack packs. Divvy up a big bag of almonds into small resealable bags. Aim for 15 carrots and 15 almonds per bag. While almonds are loaded with healthy fats, you can go overboard if you consume too many. (165 calories; 10g fat; 0g saturated fat)