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7 tips for avoiding stress cravings

Fitness & Nutrition Editor
Undine is currently studying fitness, health, and wellness to become a certified trainer. She writes articles for foodspring about nutrition and fitness. She also creates free food programs.

When work is stressful and home isn’t always as relaxing as you wish, you might feel like making up for it with chocolate, chips, and other goodies. Here are 7 tips to help you control your stress cravings. 

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Why do we eat when we are stressed?

When we’re stressed, our brains tell our bodies that we need energy. In order to fight fatigue and overcome stressful situations, our body needs energy as fast as possible, which results in a ferocious appetite for sweets, salty snacks, and fatty foods. A chocolate bar gives our brain the bit of energy it needs to stay calm amidst chaos. 

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Another reason stress cravings are such a thing is because we like to eat as a reward. When we’re kids, our parents often congratulate us with something sweet. As we grow older, though, eating can remain associated with this idea of reward, and eventually, we may come to use it to excuse our stress cravings at the end of the day.

An occasional square of chocolate never hurt anyone, of course, but the problem with stress is that it’s easy to accidentally eat more than you actually want to. Here are 7 tips to help you avoid stress cravings.

7 Tips for Controlling Stress Cravings

FOCUS ON BREATHING

Even when your agenda is full, you still have time to breathe. Breathing deeply from your abdomen will relax your body, supply it with oxygen, and do a lot of good.

MOVE

Regular physical activity can be extremely helpful for reducing stress. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend two hours a day at the gym. Just a walk in the evening can be enough.

running
©Peathegee Inc

LISTEN

Relaxing music can also help relax your mind. Make a playlist and put on your headphones.

READ

Skip the TV and grab a book instead. Even though it may seem like the TV relaxes you, it’s actually focusing your attention away from relaxing. Try to read before bed instead.

DON’T DRINK COFFEE

When you’re feeling tired, try moving instead of drinking coffee. Get some fresh air; go to the printer and back; or open a window. Do anything that’ll get you moving.

TAKE A SHORT NAP

Ideally, a short, restorative nap shouldn’t last longer than 5 to 20 minutes. That’s enough time to feel energized and ready to get back to work.

GET ORGANIZED

Many of us are stressed because we want to do too much or we can’t organize ourselves properly. When the workday is over we want to see our friends, go to yoga, clean our apartment, cook healthy food, and watch the next episode of our favourite TV show. But a day is only 24 hours, and it’s not always possible to do everything we like without getting super stressed. Instead, try to do less or at least spread out your activities more evenly. You’ll be able to enjoy them more because you won’t be under as much pressure. 

Infographic

stress cravings
©foodspring

Our Balance Sheet

To avoid stress cravings, it’s important to reduce the level of stress in your life. Relax by walking in the great outdoors, listening to relaxing music, practicing deep breathing, and much more. It’ll keep you calm and you’ll forget you’re hungry before you know it. 

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