Stress Awareness Month
April is here in full bloom! Okay, maybe not quite FULL bloom. It began a little chilly, but what better way to start the month than with Easter this year! April is a busy month for students and families. Whether you’re preparing for finals, planning a graduation party, or family vacation, this will likely bring unwanted stress. It’s not easy and many people have different ways of dealing with stress, but oftentimes food is a major player that is abused when individuals are under a lot of stress. There is evidence that our Western diet, composed primarily of refined carbs (i.e. white breads and pastas) and processed foods (i.e. pre-packaged items) may actually worsen stress and overall poor moods.
Instead diets high in lean proteins, fruit and veggies is the way to go! A few things to keep in mind: beware of fad diets that cut out whole food groups. Eliminating complex carbs (i.e. whole grains, starchy veggies, beans, lentils) may lower your mood making it more difficult to cope with stress and choose the right foods. This only perpetuates SOS, or what I like to call, the Sycle of Stress. By including many varieties, colors, and textures of food, you’re exposing your body to more nutrients for fuel as well as offering nutrients needed to calm the mind. It’s a win-win!
This leads into the importance of mindful eating. It’s so easy to grab ready-to- eat items, like chips and energy drinks, that will fill you up and save you time preparing meals. Opt for fresh produce instead like apples, bananas, carrot sticks, pea pods, etc.
These items are also ready-to- eat and will save you the headache in the long run by coming down off the dizzying sugar rush. If low blood sugar is an issue for you and you find you’re often hungry, try eating more frequent smaller meals that are more nutrient dense to keep you fuller longer.
Read through our list of examples, some may surprise you!