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Healthy Ways to Handle Emotional Eating


Food sets a mood for all of us from a great Saturday morning breakfast, to a leisurely barbecued dinner on the patio, food often reflects our lives.

We fill our holidays with our favorite dishes and surprise our friends with freshly baked cookies. Everywhere we go, food just seem to tag along. Food can also be a tyrant when we pack on extra pounds, or develop cravings for more and more sugar. Suddenly everything we put in our mouths gets attention as we tally the calories and count the teaspoons of sugar.

A recent article on Fox News cited all sorts of bad ways to eat but the one that really rang home for me was “emotional eating.”

A friend of mine summed this up as he looked back at his childhood and said, “Everything we did revolved around food. We celebrated, mourned, and drowned our sorrows with food and drink.” I related to this completely and perhaps a lot of us do. If we look closely at where we eat, how we eat, it sometimes reveals a fairly accurate picture of how we are doing and how we are feeling. Then depending on the choices that we make that feeling could load us up with extra calories or actually work to keep us healthy.

What do we do in these situations?

Feeling down?

Do we automatically break out the pastries or scoop out some ice cream? Better choice might be to go for a run, or head off to a favorite flea market. A good distraction could sidestep the calories.

Just closed a great deal?

Do we celebrate with dinner reservations and indulge in our favorite pasta or steak? Or maybe we could make it a picnic at the park with lots of fresh fruits, low fat cheeses and veggies, along with a choice of waters and juices, and some hiking.

Really wiped out after a long day?

Sagging on the couch and ordering pizza sounds awfully good. But rounding up all of the ingredients for a salad buffet might work too, easy to assemble and full of fresh healthy choices.

Realizing things are just not working out?

When relationships take a wrong turn we sometimes burrow into comfort foods with second helpings and extra desserts. We could also make this the time to clean out the closet, and shop a Farmer’s market with some new recipes in hand.

Bored and looking for something to eat?

The easy answer is burgers and fries or chips, dips, and cookies. Keeping fresh fruit, low fat veggie chips and the makings for a great fish dinner or a big pot of fresh vegetable soup on hand could work too.

Food will probably continue to underscore a lot of what we do, but with a little effort, we can keep it healthier.


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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Juhan Sonin

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