Simple Swaps: When Our Emotions Get the Best of Us
On paper, living a healthy lifestyle is easy: exercise regularly and eat a sensible diet. But the biggest factor that can affect almost everyone’s diet is life. From stressing about a deadline at your job, to celebrating birthdays, to feeling anxious about your next date, emotions play a significant role when it comes to eating.
We have all seen the movies where girlfriends grab a tub of ice cream after a breakup, but, according to Tara Gidus, MS, R.D., the host of Emotional Mojo and team dietitian of the Orlando Magic, when tough emotions arise, there are always-better–for-you options. Just because it is called a comfort food does not mean it has to be unhealthy. Check out Tara’s five favorite substitutes for all the times our emotional cravings get the best of us.
1. Frozen Feelings: The next time you reach into the freezer for your go-to pint of ice cream, remember that it takes about 10,000 steps, or ten miles, to walk that carton off! Instead, swap Greek Frozen Yogurt for ice cream. Greek Frozen Yogurt individual cups provide the same rich taste as ice cream without the calorie load. Healthy Choice offers a variety of flavors of Greek Frozen Yogurt, including Raspberry, Vanilla Bean, and Chocolate Caramel, for 100-110 calories per individual cup. Tara also suggests eating frozen fruit for a delicious frozen snack. Just a few frozen grapes can do the trick when looking for a sweet, frozen dessert.
2. Late Night Cravings: When you can’t sleep and go looking for the milk and cookies, head to your fridge or pantry instead and grab a cup of pudding. While many chocolate treats are high in sugar and saturated fat that will drive your weight loss goals off track, Tara suggests the Snack Pack Bakery Shop pudding cups, which come in five decadent flavors like Chocolate Cupcake and Banana Cream Pie, satisfying your dessert craving. Each pudding cup is made with nonfat milk and contains as much calcium as an 8-oz. glass of milk.
3. Leisurely Lapses: The next time you are feeling like it’s a couch worthy day, skip the greasy potato chips and turn to veggies and hummus, pita chips or even a big bowl of popcorn. These snacks all deliver the crunch without derailing your diet. You can feel good about choosing new Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Naturals because they have zero grams of trans-fat per serving. Another easy swap for potato chips are Kangaroo Pita Chips , which are all-natural, heart-healthy with 40% less fat and 25% less sodium than other brands, and a personal favorite found in Tara’s pantry.
4. Seasonal Snacking: Tara also shares that even weather affects how we eat. Typically during the winter months, we tend to gravitate towards warm, comfort meals like a homemade casserole. Instead, choose a portion-controlled frozen meal, which allows you to have the taste you crave without going overboard on calories. Plus, according to a NHANES 2009 study, the average American meal clocks in at 700 calories, to reduce your overall calorie intake, try a Marie Callender’s Fresh Flavor Steamer Three Cheese Tortellini frozen meal, which is 420 calories per serving!
5. Alternative Solutions: While these substitutes can help, it is also important to also learn to recognize the craving and what triggers it. Try finding a productive alternative to eating like taking a walk, playing a game, or talking to a friend to keep you busy. It’s habit to tend to want food to help fuel your emotions, but with Tara’s tips and tricks you will be sure to stay on track with your diet.
To learn more about Tara Gidus, visit emotionalmojo.com.
*Tara Gidus is a paid spokesperson for ConAgra Foods.
xx, The FabFitFun Team