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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 August 15, 2018

                7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

                7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

                Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

                Video Summary

                Why is it important to train up our core strength?

                There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

                This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

                Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

                In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

                One Exercise, multiple benefits

                There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

                By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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                When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

                Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

                In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

                What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

                What will happen when you start doing planks every day

                  1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

                  Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

                  • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
                  • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
                  • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
                  • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

                  2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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                    Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

                    Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

                    3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

                      Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

                      4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

                        Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

                        A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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                        A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

                        On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

                        5. You’ll improve overall balance

                          Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

                          6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                            Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                            7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                              Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                              How to hold a plank position

                              1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                              2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                              3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                              4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                              5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                              6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                              7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                              Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                              Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                                How to improve your plank time gradually

                                1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                                2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                                3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                                Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                                Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                                You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                                • Prolapse
                                • After prolapse surgery
                                • Pelvic pain conditions
                                • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                                • Previous childbirth
                                • Overweight

                                Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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