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Do You Crave Food When You're Stressed?


When some people feel stressed out, they will turn towards food as an outlet to relieve stress. Food can provide a comforting feeling for people. Unfortunately, this is your brain tricking you into thinking you’re hungry. However, you might not actually be physically hungry.

Using food as a way to cope with stress is a big concern. The comfort foods we tend to crave are high in fat, sugar, and empty calories and little nutritional benefit is provided. Stress eating can also cause you to eat way more than you normally would. After you eat, you may feel guilty for eating too much. Since food is a temporary solution and does not reduce your stress, the stressful feeling will still remain.

If you are using food to provide stress relief, your health can suffer. Stress can also cause some serious health problems if left unchecked, so managing stress is important. Some health problems include: anxiety, headaches, depression, elevated blood sugars, heart attacks, and strokes. How you manage your stress can have a big impact on your diet and your health. So just take a moment and breathe, while we offer you some helpful tips to manage stress.

Tips to Stress Less:

  • Exercise often. Exercise is a great stress reliever. You will also receive the benefits of regular exercise. Take your dog for a walk or a new hiking trail. Go hit a class at the gym.
  • Laugh more. Do you notice how you feel more relaxed and at ease after laughing? Laughing releases the feel good hormones, endorphins. Endorphins are natural stress fighters and help you relax.
  • Spend time with your family and friends. This quality time can help you to relax and decompress. They can also be an outlet to talk about your stressors and unload some of your burdens.
  • Clear your mind. Take a moment for yourself and put your stress aside. Each time you think about whatever is stressing you out in life, it continues to add more stress. Attend a yoga class. Try meditation. Keep a journal. Read a book. Talk with your loved ones. Exercise is also a good distraction.
  • Eliminate stressors. If possible, remove things from your life that cause extra stress. Know what you can control and what you cannot control.

How do you manage the different stressors in your own life?

Also, don’t stress about figuring out what you want for dinner tonight. Try the recipe below!

The health benefits of this recipe are endless. You’ll get a great source of healthy fats from the salmon and olive oil. When combined with the Greek yogurt, it will make this dish protein-packed. The whole grain orzo is a complex carbohydrate and great source of fiber, so you will feel full long after the meal is over. Asparagus is loaded with nutrients such as vitamin K, folic acid, and B vitamins. This recipe is a Mediterranean treat full of essential nutrients and health benefits.

Salmon with Creamy Lemon-Dill Sauce with Orzo and Asparagus

Recipe originally from


  • ¾ lb. salmon, fillet, skinned
  • 1 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • ½ tsp. + ½ tsp. bottled minced garlic, divided
  • ¼ tsp. and ¼ tsp. salt and pepper, divided
  • ½ lemon
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh dill (or 1 tsp. dried)
  • 1 lb. asparagus
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Place salmon on a foil-lined baking sheet. Stir together melted butter, garlic, salt and pepper; brush over salmon. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until salmon flakes with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, cut asparagus into 3-inch pieces. Cook orzo according to package directions, adding asparagus during last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain orzo, and place in a serving bowl. Add oil, garlic, salt and pepper; toss.
  3. Grate rind from lemon; juice lemon. Stir together yogurt, lemon rind, lemon juice, and dill. Serve with salmon.

This post was written by Zelle Morefield, a diabetic intern for the Diabetes and Nutrition Learning Center.


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