Provided by the American Dietetic Association: Your Link to Nutrition & Health
Appetite, food preferences, cravings. All of these can be affected by our feelings and emotions, including those caused by stress from world events and even holidays. And often the foods we choose are so-called "comfort foods."
There is no question that comfort foods -- ice cream, mashed potatoes, peanut butter and jelly -- are helpful to many people during stressful times. Everyone should feel free to enjoy the foods that comfort them. You do not have to give up comfort foods in order to "eat right." Just be aware of your portions. By not overindulging, you can do much toward keeping control of your health, as well.
Avoid the urge to eat as a way to quell anger or to overcome depression or loneliness. Deal with emotions in a positive way. Compared with nibbling, physical activity such as a brisk walk or a bike ride offers a more lasting way to resolve moods. Sometimes even a brief change of scenery can do the trick.
Below are some healthful tips on enjoying your favorite comfort foods:
- Top low-fat ice cream with granola, or try sherbet topped with fruit
- If cookies are your comfort food, opt for oatmeal-raisin, vanilla wafers or gingersnaps
- If you prefer salty foods, try popcorn, pretzels dipped in spicy mustard or baked tortilla chips and salsa
- Instead of having seconds of hot chocolate, milk shakes, eggnog, etc., choose a glass of water or carbonated water
- Add naturally sweet sliced or dried fruit to cereal, yogurt or pancakes
- Add grated, shredded or chopped vegetables -- zucchini, spinach, carrots -- to lasagna, meat loaf, poultry, pasta, and grain dishes
- Replace half of the milk and butter in mashed potatoes with low fat chicken broth
- Puree berries, apples, peaches, or pears for a thick, sweet sauce on grilled or broiled seafood or poultry
- Use pureed fruit such as applesauce, prunes, bananas, or peaches in place of about half the fat in recipes for muffins, pancakes, cookies, breads, and other baked goods. For flavor, texture and nutrients, blend in shredded zucchini, carrots or dried fruits.
Produced by the ADA's Public Relations Team