Snacking. Is it good or bad? This depends on several factors. First and foremost, are your snacks fitting within your daily calorie range? Some people use snacks to stave off their hunger, so that they don’t overeat. Others, easily overeat with snacks in between meals and late at night. Secondly, what are you snacking on? Snacking on fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds is a great habit. However, snacking on cakes, cookies, candies and chips will have health implications.
With Stress Awareness Day today, April 16th, let’s take a moment to consider stress and its connection to snacking. Some people snack because they are stressed, and others snack on unhealthy foods because they are stressed. Consider some tips to help control your stress, while also controlling your snacking.
Here are my top 3 ways to manage stress, so you don’t end up snacking on unhealthy foods and regret the habit:
Walk (or Run, Hike or Bike) it Off
Walking or really any form of exercise that gets the heart rate up and blood flowing is the BEST way to beat stress, because it pumps up those feel good endorphins. Although this function is often referred to as a “runner's high,” a rousing game of tennis or a nature hike also can contribute to this same feeling. Additionally, exercise immediately improves your mood. Regular exercise can increase self-confidence and lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise also can improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety.
Day-to-day obligations can be loaded with stress, so lighten your load by listening to soothing music, such as classical, easy listening or any music that calms you. It can immediately reduce the stress hormone cortisol in your body. Less stress leads to less cortisol- making it easier to avoid weight gain.
Catch your Zzzz’s
Anyone who struggles with getting a good night’s sleep knows that it can cause stress and anxiety throughout the day. You’re more likely to snack unhealthily, crave foods high in sugar and salt, and not exercise if you are sleep deprived. Make every effort to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night- and if that’s not possible sneak in a nap throughout the day.
Hopefully, with these 3 tips you can reduce your stress and therefore reduce your snacking on unhealthy foods.
For more healthy living tips and information, check out the Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating blog or our Healthy Beat Videos!