Emotional or stress eating can manifest in different ways and occasions. People tend to stress-eat when they are bored, sad, or, well, stressed. The comfort of foods high in sugar or fat seems to drive troubles away, even if only for a short amount of time. But unfortunately, most Standard American Diet fare can exacerbate the issue, creating a cycle that feels hard to break. The good news is you can nip stress-eating in the bud with a whole food plant-based diet for weight loss and some practical self-care.
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Right now, we are all dealing with extremely stressful and unprecedented situations, which means it's more important than ever to find healthy ways to deal with our stress. But before I get into that, first, be gentle with yourself. Time's are crazy and if you've been binge-eating or watching too much Netflix or generally not taking care of yourself in the way you know you should, cut yourself some slack, take a deep breath, then make a plan.
Need help with the whole "make a plan" thing? We've got some practical self-care tips to help you manage stress-eating, using a healthy, whole foods, plant-based lifestyle. You've got this.
1. Get Organized
Remember that plan I mentioned? Start with your meals for the week. Plan your meals and make sure you never let yourself go hungry, since extreme hunger can trigger stress which will lead to stress eating. Being more prepared also gives you a sense of control, helping your overall wellness and mental health. Knowing where your next meals comes from will make things a little easier during a stressful time.
Need help getting those meals planned? This WFPB meal plan for beginners should get you off on the right foot.
2. Stay Hydrated
A lot of the time we mistake thirst for hunger! So staying hydrated is key to ward off unnecessary eating. If water is too boring for you, you can get your hydration from water-rich fruits and vegetables like these hydrating foods.
3. Snack on Nuts and Seeds
Crunchy foods, such as nuts and seeds, are known to reduce tension in the jaw and neck, which is where we commonly hold stress. They are also packed with healthy fats, protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals which contribute to your overall health and keep you satiated. So snack on!
4. Channel Your Inner Bugs Bunny
Another excellent source of crunch are raw carrots. They also contain high levels of beta-carotene, antioxidants, and fiber. Similar to nuts and seeds chewing hard foods alleviates stress and tension from your body.
5. Fill Up On Berries
Berries are powerhouses of nutrition, as they are full of healthy phytochemicals that fight inflammation and free radicals in the body, which usually develop in times of high external stress. Enjoy your berries straight up alongside a handful of those nuts we already talked about or blend into a healthy vegan smoothie.
6. Have Some Tea
Nothing is more relaxing than a cup of hot tea full of stress-fighting tannins. Chamomile is a natural, herbal relaxant, which makes it an excellent choice during stressful moments, especially before sleep. Better yet, go outside and pick some chamomile yourself —nature is the oldest and most effective stress relief!
7. Look For WFPB Comfort Food Recipes
You don't have to deny yourself when comfort food cravings hit. Today, there are thousands of whole food plant-based recipes online, and I am sure that whatever your favorite, comforting food is, you can find its WFPB version online. So get in the kitchen and whip up a batch of vegan lasagna or some mini WFPB pot pies. Don't feel like cooking? No problem — get plant-based takes on all your favorite comfort foods delivered to your door with MamaSezz.
- Be gentle with yourself in times of stress!
- Get organized and meal plan!
- Stay hydrated — we often mistake thirst for hunger!
- Snack on nuts and seeds.
- Eat raw carrots!
- Drink some tea, especially chamomile.
- Whip up WFPB comfort food at home!
Rafaela Michailidou is a Vegan Lifestyle Coach, and a freelance health and wellness content writer, with a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.