Stress affects people in different ways, and everyone has different ways of coping with stress. It can be helpful to build your repertoire of stress-reducing strategies by including a variety of activities, such as meditation, movement, reading, exploring creative outlets, or even eating.
When we’re stressed out, the last thing we need is to be worrying about food. Here are some tips to help navigate nutrition during tough times:
- Reframe stress eating. Familiar, comforting foods can bring feelings of peace and support. Comfort foods are warm, cozy, and often nostalgic foods that feel like a big hug — and honoring that personal, emotional connection to food is so important.
- Set time aside for family meals. For some, stress can reduce appetite and motivation to eat. While you may not feel hungry it’s important to continue to fuel your body during these situations. Set a regular eating schedule with your family, allowing at least 20 to 30 minutes to sit down together at each meal.
- Create a fun eating environment. Invite your children to help set the table, create colorful placemats, or pretend they’re in a restaurant. Playing calming music and opening windows to let in fresh air and natural light can also help set a positive mood as you and your family enjoy a meal together.
- Have fun in the kitchen. Extra time at home can be a great opportunity to finally make that recipe you’ve had saved for months or experiment with something new (such as making sourdough!). Get the whole family involved in preparing and testing out a new recipe together.
During tough times, it’s so important to be extra patient with and kind to yourself, allowing space for compassion. It may not be perfect, but you’ll get through this.