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When I’m under a lot of stress I often forget to eat—usually because I’m busy and feel like I have to keep working and can’t stop. Then, when I get home, I swing in the other direction and stress eat, snacking on foods that comfort in the moment but make me feel tired and even more stressed afterwards (those little snack cakes with sprinkles are my real weakness.)

Lately I’ve been reading about foods that I can snack on and that will actually help with my stress. I was skeptical, and so went looking for research-backed snackable anti-stress foods that are 1) easy and 2) tasty.

To my surprise there are lots of foods out there that fit the bill! According to the Cleveland Clinic, foods that that lower inflammation, that support your immune system and your gut, that stabilize your blood sugar, and that produce serotonin (a mood enhancing chemical in your body) can really help you feel less stressed.

Some portable, snackable, anti-stress foods

To reduce inflammation: Bananas, berries, apples, dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, spinach, tuna, salmon

To support your immune system:  Oranges, tangerines, clementines

To support your gut health:  High fiber foods like raw veggies and apples, sunflower seeds, pistachios, also Greek yogurt

To help stabilize your blood sugar:  Almonds and other nuts, lean chicken and turkey, eggs, milk

To boost serotonin:  complex carbs like whole grain bread, whole grain pasta, brown rice, oatmeal (not the instant kind with lots of sugar)

Stress-busting snack ideas

Once you know all these options, stress-busting snacking is easy. Try making trail mix with pumpkin seeds, peanuts, almonds, and dark chocolate chips and keeping some in zip lock bags around work (maybe don’t use the chocolate chips if you’re keeping this in your truck during warmer months).  Carry apples, tangerines, or bananas for snacks, and make a tuna sandwich with whole grain bread and spinach instead of lettuce for lunch.

It’s nice to think that you can snack and feel better, not worse, afterwards.

So, snack away…if you are smart in your snacking it’ll help lower your stress and keep you thriving!

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