3 Ways to Eat to Manage Stress

‘Tis the season of work parties, gatherings, and I hate to say it…stress. While the holiday season can be a favourite time of the year, our schedules can suddenly become jam-packed and we start to feel sick and tired. Sugary treats, alcoholic drinks, longer hours, and stress-filled days start to become the norm. Chronic stress can also reduce your immune system and set the stage for that annoying cold or flu that’s going around the office or your child’s school. Diet can play a huge factor in how your body manages stress. Food can support your body and help it through this stressful time, or it can tax the body even more and can become another burden on the body. With just a few small changes you can support your body and enjoy this time of year again!

1. Breakfast

This is a meal that is often skipped when we start to feel rundown, but this is a very important meal to start your day off right. By skipping breakfast or by having a highly refined breakfast you’re setting the stage for a day of sugar cravings and blood sugar crashes. Those cookies that your colleague brought into work will be very, VERY attractive.

On the other hand, a healthy breakfast high in protein and healthy fat can help you feel satisfied all morning and can keep you away from those sugary treats at your fingertips. Organic 5% fat (or higher) yogurt with berries or a soft-boiled egg (or two) with sprouted grain toast will start your day off right.

2. Reduce Foods that are “Energy Drains”

Energy draining foods are ones that need precious B vitamins and minerals from your body to digest them. Nutrient poor refined sugars, refined flours, and large amounts of caffeine are in this food category. During stress your body needs these nutrients to support your adrenal glands, and will become depleted quickly if you add just a few sweet treats to your day. In particular, stay away from caffeinated sugary drinks. These will stress the body and leave you craving sugar all day. Drink water, teas, and even an organic black coffee (but no more than 2 per day) instead.

3. Increase Nutrient-Dense Foods

These are foods your body will thank you for! Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains (like quinoa or brown rice) are chockfull of nutrients that will support your adrenal glands and keep your energy high right through the holidays. Also keep in mind seasonal vegetables as the weather cools, they will warm you up and they are great at reducing “comfort food” cravings. Squashes, potatoes, carrots, and kale are all abundant in this season.

By reducing energy draining foods while including more nutrient dense foods into your diet, your body will be able to manage the stress easier. Be kind to your body this season and your body will reward your efforts with fewer colds and the energy to enjoy yourself with your family and friends.

Lisa Kilgour is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist. She provides one-on-one consultations and teaches workshops in the Okanagan. To find out the underlying cause of your symptoms, or to find the diet that will help you feel your best, visit www.EatMoreRealFood.com.

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