This year will be marked as a year of continued uncertainty, anxiety and — if you’re like many people — a lot of stress-related eating.
There is no need to stress about stress eating, though. As most of us await the arrival of new vaccines and the hope for a more healthful way of living, here are some tips to get a jump-start on fueling your body to feel better in 2021.
- Let your inner wisdom guide your eating
That means shifting your focus from calorie counting and self-judgment of food choices to eating more mindfully and listening to what your body is telling you it wants.
“I recommend that patients learn to recognize internal feelings of hunger as well as identify food preferences including how they feel after they eat certain foods,” said Lisa R. Young, registered dietitian nutritionist and author of “Finally Full, Finally Slim: 30 Days to Permanent Weight Loss One Portion at a Time.”This also means pausing and giving thought about your eating decisions. If a cookie is going to calm you when you are feeling a bit stressed, it’s OK to eat it. But if you are not really hungry, you might stop and think of other things that will help to soothe you. Doing yoga, writing in a journal, taking a shower or calling a friend may also help you feel better.2. Include immunity-boosting foods in your dietThis year, focus on filling your plate with foods that contain important healing nutrients that can help to keep you healthy.Foods including citrus fruits; orange and green veggies like spinach, kale, sweet potatoes and carrots; eggs; beans; and fatty fish and shellfish are packed with vitamins and minerals that support a healthy immune system and can help to give you a sense of control over your health.
Create a list of your favorite immunity-boosting foods and add them to your weekly shopping list. And for a healing beverage, try my antioxidant-rich matcha latte.The vitamin D in fortified milk is key in helping the body produce proteins that kill bacteria and viruses, while matcha green tea powder is chock-full of the antioxidant EGCG (short for epigallocatechin gallate), which may help strengthen the immune system. You can find many varieties of matcha powder online.
- Eat more “processed” foods
No, I’m not referring to ultraprocessed foods like sausages and packaged desserts — I mean nutritious frozen and canned foods that can easily be incorporated into healthy meals, like canned beans, tuna and tomatoes; nut butters; and frozen fruits and vegetables.Purchasing frozen, canned and vacuum-packed foods means we can shop less often and keep our pantries, fridges and freezers stocked, something that can be especially helpful during winter months, explained registered dietitian Bonnie Taub-Dix, creator of BetterThanDieting.com and author of “Read It Before You Eat It: Taking You From Label to Table.”
“I love using canned beans for my spicy dark chocolate chili bowls and my kids love my pumpkin bread with dark chocolate chips and almonds that uses canned pumpkin,” Taub-Dix said.