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7 Healthy Comfort Foods To Help You De-Stress Without Gaining Extra Pounds

7 Healthy Comfort Foods To Help You De-Stress Without Gaining Extra Pounds

Now that summer is here, we’ll be at tons of cookouts. Saying no to our sweet tooth and the little devil on our shoulder is never easy, and eating our favorite junk foods is a quick way to help us de-stress. We would never want to cut out our favorite foods so we’ve formulated a list of healthy comfort foods that’ll keep you looking great in your swimsuit this year. If you want to be able to indulge without overdosing on your calorie intake, you’ve found yourself at the right place.

1. Simple Oatmeal

Oatmeal_shutterstock_173846588_RT

    via Shutterstock

    Oatmeal is one of the simplest breakfast foods out there. It’s low in calories and high in fiber. It’s quick to make and so simple for on the go. It’s easy to “dress it up” with some of your favorite fruits for some added color and flavor. By adding some strawberries and/or blueberries you’re able to address your sweet tooth, and they are certainly a healthy substitution for a doughnut or a mouth drooling cinnamon bun.

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    2. The Healthy (Salmon) Burger

    salmon-burger-2

      via Ezra Pound Cake

      It’s always hard to say no to a mouth watering burger. Most of us could eat them every day, but would surely feel the remorse after we notice the extra pounds we’d gain as a result. So for all of you burger lovers out there, we’ve found that the salmon burger is a healthy substitution. For all of you who are prone to stress, you’ll be relieved to know that salmon is packed with Omega-3 fatty acids which will help protect your cells against inflammation caused by stress. Just add your favorite toppings and you’re set!

      3. Delicious, Healthy Yogurt

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      Yogurt-Parfait

        via Her Campus

        Walk away from the ice cream lane, and stay in the correct one. Replace your ice cream with yogurt. A study at UCLA discovered that women who ate yogurt that had probiotics noticed a reduction in activity in the area of the brain that handles stress and emotion. Don’t forget to top it off with some tasty fruits for some added health benefits and antioxidants, it makes for a great healthy comfort food!

        4. Citrusy Lemonade

        mango-lemonade3

          via Overtime Cook

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          When we stress, we crave sugars such as soda and other unhealthy drinks. Thankfully there’s a healthy alternative and you can finally kick soda to the side for good. Packed with Vitamin C which has been linked to the reduction of stress and can improve blood pressure and cortisol levels. Be careful when purchasing store bought lemonade’s because these can be packed with sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. It’s best to make your own fresh batch and add a few drops of honey and/or a few packets of stevia.

          5. Simply Popcorn

          shutterstock_296395484-popcorn-oxana-denezhkina_0

            via Shuttershock

            Chips are something that you just can’t have a handful of. Have you ever noticed that you open the bag and think to yourself, “I’m only going to have a few” and the next thing you know you’ve managed to house down more than half the bag? Well, we have found that popcorn is a healthy comfort food. It’s high in fiber and can help level out your blood sugar. To add some flavor, top it off with some cinnamon which is known to stabilize blood sugar as well. This carb-rich snack will absolutely spark those serotonin neurotransmitters which help regulate your mood.

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            6. Green (Veggie) Pizza

            shutterstock_204618826-pizza-alena-haurylik

              via Shuttershock

              Who would we be if we sat here and told you that you can’t enjoy pizza still? But here’s the thing, some toppings are healthier than others, and it shouldn’t come as any surprise that most of them are green. Swap out your pepperoni for something healthier such as spinach or arugula. Both of these are filled with vitamin B which helps fight off depression. To boost your mood a little more, throw some lemon zest on top!

              7. Delicious Dark Chocolate (Healthy Comfort Food)

              shutterstock_229969108

                via Shuttershock

                No one can deprive anyone of chocolate and no one would even want to! But just like with most things in life, there are certainly healthier alternatives in the world of chocolate. For example, swap out your M&M’s for a piece of dark chocolate. Dark chocolate will give you that dopamine rush we all want and quite frankly need every once in awhile. It also has something called cocoa polyphenols, which happens to be more prominent in dark chocolate than milk chocolate which can reduce stress – especially in women. But just like anything else, don’t overdo it, a little goes a long way!

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                Erica Wagner

                Freelance Writer

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                Last Updated on November 15, 2019

                10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

                10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

                Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, these bad habits are difficult to break because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

                Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental and emotional health.

                Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

                If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

                Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

                1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

                Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

                Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

                Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

                2. No Motivation

                Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academics and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

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                This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family and life in general.

                If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

                3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

                Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to break bad habits.

                A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to eventually become a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

                A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

                The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

                4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

                One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

                We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

                Over-eating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of crisps, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are needed by us. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

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                You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

                5. Upward Comparisons

                Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

                The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

                These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

                6. No Alternative

                This is a real and valid reason why bad habits are hard to break. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

                Someone who has physical or psychological limitations such as a disability or social anxiety may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

                Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

                Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

                7. Stress

                As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing bad habits.

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                When a person is stressed about something, it is easy to give in to a bad habit because the mental resources required to fight them are not available.

                Stress plays such a huge role in this that we commonly find a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

                8. Sense of Failure

                People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

                Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

                Over-eaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store.

                Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

                If such people slip even once with a glass of wine or a smoke or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

                9. The Need to Be All-New

                People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

                These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit.

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                10. Force of Habit

                Humans are creatures of habit and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

                Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or munching on crisps when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

                These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

                Final Thoughts

                These are the main reasons why bad habits may be difficult to break but it is important to remember that the task is not impossible.

                Do you have bad habits you want to kick? My article How to Break a Bad Habit (and Replace It With a Good One) gives you tips on well, how to kick bad habits while my other article How Long Does It Take to Break a Habit? Science Will Tell You gives realistic information on what to expect while you’re trying to quit them.

                There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

                Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

                Reference

                [1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?

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