As much as you might try not to, many people find themselves reaching for a bad of chips or a packet of biccies when they’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
There is something in our brains telling us we need comfort to deal with the situation and, for many, the easiest way to get that comfort is with something tasty and indulgent.
While reaching for the sugary or fatty option may be the first instinct, it’s definitely not the right move for managing your stress levels or your waistline.
Thankfully, breaking these bad habits isn’t has difficult as you might think. All you need to do is make a few informed choices about what you put in your mouth and how it will affect you.
There are lots of great alternatives to fatty and sugary treats that will not only fill you with the nutrition your body needs, but also help naturally reduce your stress levels and balance you out.
Give these a go next time your feeling the pressure and want to have a treat.
Dark chocolate covered almonds
Studies have proven that dark chocolate helps to naturally reduce stress levels and help keep your sweet cravings in check. It’s packed with anti-oxidants and when combined with protein-rich almonds makes the perfect healthy sweet treat. Try this: Melt 200g good quality dark chocolate, then add 150g almonds. Toss to coat, then scoop out 1/2 tablespoon of chocolate-coated almonds at a time and leave to on baking paper in the fridge. Store in a container in the fridge and eat when needed!
Ants on a log
This snack has a great mix of protein and low-calorie veggies that will keep you feeling fuller for longer. Try this: Cut up a few celery sticks and spread about a teaspoon of natural nut butter (try peanut or almond) along the top. Sprinkle over a few saltanas and you’ve got yourself and delicious and satisfying snack.
Yoghurt, honey and walnuts
The dairy in the yoghurt is full of calcium and protein, while the honey contains natural healing properties that help boost your immune system. The walnuts are the real winner here though as they’ve been proven to improve heart and brain health thanks to their high level of anti-oxidants, omega-3 fats and Vitamin E. They’re also proven to reduce stress that naturally occurs when ageing.
Carrots and guacamole
Avocados are packed with healthy fats and great for filling you up without filling you out. Skip the salty corn chips and pair it with carrot sticks instead. The crunch factor is still there, but the unhealthy fats are gone. Try this: Mash half an avocado in a bowl and add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. Top with a little cracked pepper and you’re good to go.
Salty, fatty, delicious chips are a guilty pleasure for lots of people and one of the first things they reach for when feeling stressed. The truth is though, they’re not doing anything to help your mind or your body. You can get the same salty satisfaction with these curried chickpeas, plus the added bonus of a who range of stress-busting benefits. Try this: Heat 1½ tsp oil in saucepan over medium-high heat. Add ½ can rinsed, drained, and dried chickpeas. Cook 5 to 7 minutes, flipping frequently. Toss with ½ tsp curry powder and a pinch each of cumin, paprika, garlic powder and sea salt.
These little treats are great when you need a sweet fix, but know you should steer clear of the biscuits. They have a great balance of protein, carbs and healthy fats to satisfy the sweetest of cravings. Try this: Mix ½ cup chopped dates, ¼ cup rolled oats and ½ cup nut butter (try almond or natural peanut butter), in a bowl. Scoop out heaped teaspoon-sized mounds and form into balls. If you like, you can roll them in coconut, chia seeds or coco nibs for extra flourish. Makes 12-14.
These dates are incredibly fat, juicy and sweet and are a great alternative to chocolate and lollies. They’ll also keep you incredibly regular so stick to only two or three per day!
This hikers snack is favourite because it fills you up and gives you slow-release energy to keep you going for longer. You can buy it at the supermarket or make your own to be sure all your favourite nuts and dried fruits are in there. Try this: 1/2 cup walnuts, 1/2 cup almonds, 1/4 brazil nuts, 1/4 cup dried cranberries, 1/4 dried apples or apricots, 1/4 dark chocolate pieces. Mix together then divide into single portion serves in sandwich bags so you don’t over indulge.
Toasted pita with hummus
Wholemeal pita is a great alternative to thick, glutenous bread and when it’s lightly toasted in the oven it makes a great substitute for corn chips, too! Serve your toasted pita with 1/4 cup of hummus, which is packed with protein and fibre. Pimp it out a little by squeezing over lemon juice and sprinkling on a little paprika.
Herbal tea and veggie muffin
Herbal tea is great way to infuse a little calm into your life and reduce overall stress. Try green, peppermint, spearmint, or chamomile, but really any herbal tea is great and will do the trick. Since a simple tea isn’t realistically enough to satisfy cravings, pair it with a healthy veggie muffin that’s packed with nutrients and will fill you up and calm you down. Try this recipe.