Healthy options for snacks to stress eat

Juliana byline with headshotI just sat down and ate an entire container of dried cranberries in 10 minutes. Look, it’s Sunday night. I’m way behind on my homework… no, I’m way behind in life. So sue me if I want to binge once in awhile. And, okay, maybe dried cranberries aren’t a popular binge-eating choice, but I have an extremely limited diet, so don’t judge.

What I’m getting at is this: We all get stressed. And for better or for worse, stress affects our eating habits. Look, I don’t even have the energy to tell you to not eat those five Insomnia Cookies, to not to get that midnight snack of fried mozzarella sticks from UniMini, to not to make those double chocolate chunk cookies at 1 a.m. I’m someone who, if I wanted to (and I have), could eat an entire container of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in one sitting and still have room for more. To be honest, I would probably still do that if I could eat dairy.

But — and I don’t really want there to be a “but,” but there is, so — if you’re like me, you get stressed out a lot, so you can’t really afford to binge on super sugary snacks and desserts every week (more like every day). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to tell you what to do in your time of need, but I can offer you some alternatives to the unhealthy foods that we all crave when we’re stressed.

1. Dried fruit. Okay, this is clearly the option I chose. But don’t be like me and eat an entire 9.5 oz. container in one sitting. That’s a lot of sugar. Which is, incidentally, why I am mentioning dried fruit in the first place — it’s a sugary snack that isn’t actually too bad if you’re choosy about where it comes from. Dried fruit is almost like candy. Well, it is to me, anyway. I might be a little out of touch on account of the fact that I haven’t eaten actual candy in a while. But I digress. Try to find brands that don’t add too much sugar to these already sweet treats and you’ll be set! Cranberries and apricots are my favorite.
2. Sweet Potato Chips. Sweet potatoes are actually healthier than regular potatoes, and they are delicious. 10/10, would recommend. Bake your own or buy ‘em from a store. Either way, enjoy!
3. Carrots with Hummus/Guacamole. I don’t know. Carrots are kind of sweet. I actually hate carrots, but I’ll eat them with guacamole any time. I like to make my own. It’s really simple, just mash up an avocado and basically add whatever seasonings you want. Plus tomatoes and onions if you’re feeling fancy. And hummus is always good. This combination of sweetness and fat is probably the most satisfying option so far if you’re not looking for something too sugary.
4. Plantains. Seriously. These are so good. Not the most convenient option, maybe, because they have to be at a certain stage of ripeness (turning brown/black, not all yellow and certainly not green). Also, you have to cook them in some fashion before you eat them. I suppose you could eat one uncooked if you wanted to, but I’ve never heard of anyone doing that. I like to slice ‘em up and fry ‘em in coconut oil. You could just microwave them. There are tons of recipes online and they’re all worth it.
5. Pistachios. I could’ve picked any type of nut but I picked pistachios because in my opinion they are the most delicious, more so than almonds or walnuts or cashews, and don’t even get me started on peanuts (which aren’t even nuts, by the way). Plus, if you get the shelled kind, I find that cracking the shells open makes for great stress relief. Very satisfying when you’re freaking out over your paper topic for Introduction to Cinema or whatever.

Honestly, all of the options that I mentioned are great. I really enjoy them. But if you’re stressed, I’m not going to stand between you and your double fudge ice cream with Nutella and whipped cream on top. Go for it, girl. Or guy. Or person. Whoever you are. Live your dreams.

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