Healthier comfort foods
Even the most connected and mindful eaters succumb to Head-Hunger eating (eating to soothe your emotions) once in awhile. So if you must indulge, reach for a healthier comfort food that won’t drag you down and make you feel worse! Any of the following will do:
- 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal + 1/2 banana, sliced + 1 teaspoon of brown sugar + dash of cinnamon
- 1 whole grain chocolate rice cake + 1/2 tablespoon of natural peanut butter
- 10 whole grain tortilla chips (I love The Better Chip)
- 1 ounce of sharp cheddar cheese (the size of four stacked dice) + 7 whole grain crackers (Nut Thin Multi-Seed Artisan Crackers)
- 2 squares of dark chocolate
- 2 small oatmeal raisin cookies
- 1 whole grain English muffin + 1/4 cup of pizza sauce + ¼ cup of mozzarella cheese (toast in toaster oven until cheese is melted!)
- 8 Alexia Olive Oil, Rosemary & Garlic Oven Fries (these are pre-baked, not fried)
- 1 cup of tomato soup (Amy’s Light in Sodium Chunky Tomato Bisque) + 1/2 grilled cheese on sprouted whole grain bread (Ezekiel Sesame Sprouted Whole Grain Bread)
If—despite your best efforts—you find yourself digging into a bag of potato chips instead, take the advice of Brian Wansink, PhD, director of the Food and Brand Lab at the University of Illinois. According to Brian “The key is moderation, not elimination.” He suggests dividing comfort foods into smaller portions. So if you have a large bag of chips, divide it into smaller baggies and you will be less tempted to eat more than one serving.
As for comfort foods that aren’t always healthy, like fattening desserts, Wansink says: “Your memory of a food peaks after about four bites, so if you only have those bites, a week later you’ll recall it as just a good experience than if you polished off the whole thing.” So have a few bites of cheesecake, then call it quits, and you’ll get equal the pleasure with lower cost.
Make it happen! Before reaching for food, ask yourself if you are physically hungry. If the answer is no, peel away the layers and get to the bottom of the REAL reason you are about to eat. Stress? Anger? Happiness? Boredom? Awareness is the first step. The best way to cope with your emotions is to not “put a bandaid” on them with food, but rather have a suitable outlet to really feel and deal with them. For example: going for a walk when stressed or calling a friend when bored. It’s not always easy, but worth it in the end. After all, a baby doesn’t snack on chocolate chip cookies when he needs a diaper change…does he?