During difficult and stressful times, it is quite normal to reach for foods that we love rather than a healthier choice. It is known that being under stress may induce cravings, eating and weight gain. And being at home & out of normal routine, visits to the kitchen are more frequent which inevitably leads to the urge to snack. 

Both these if not in moderation can contribute to unhealthy lifestyle with gaining weight amongst lots of other implications on your health

So here’s 4 top tips to stop the urge:-

  • Drink More WaterThirst is often confused with hunger or food cravings. If you feel a sudden urge for a specific food, try drinking a large glass of water and wait a few minutes. You may find that the craving fades away because your body was actually just thirsty.
  • Separate hunger v emotional cues to want to eatLearn to separate the two and self-regulate your eating by eating mindfully and paying attention to hunger signals. Practice rating your hunger: On a scale of one to ten, just how hungry are you? If you’re not feeling hungry or you’re just a little hungry, you may rate that somewhere between one and four. Wait until you reach five, truly hungry before you eat (but don’t allow yourself to get overly hungry to the point where you overeat.)
  • Schedule your meal times & build in snack timesGenerally speaking, most people schedule three meals and one or two snacks or ‘mini-meals’ at specific times of the day. Real hunger usually kicks in starting about three hours after your last meal. Depending on your eating habits and the time of day, a small snack may be sufficient at that point; if not, you’re getting a signal that it’s time for your next meal. Eating proper meals helps prevent hunger and cravings, while also ensuring that your body gets the nutrients it needs.
  • Substitute healthy behaviours – If you’re used to eating in response to emotional situations, distance yourself.  One of the simplest, easiest and healthiest alternatives to emotional eating is walking: regular walking, speed walking, walking on a treadmill, walking your dog. Craft activities like knitting or felting not only pass the time and give you something physical to do but allow you to be creative and productive.

As well as following the tips above here’s a little extra support and a healthy helping hand when it comes to choosing your top 10 most nutritious and tastiest foods:

1.  Oats.  One of nature’s superfoods, oats are the ideal way to start your day.  Oats, oat bran or oatmeal – it’s all good stuff.  Packed full of fibre, but with a low glycaemic index (GI), you’ll feel much fuller for longer which means weight loss is given a helping hand and your blood sugar levels will remain constant too, preventing the mid-morning nibbles.  What’s more, oats are full of antioxidants, they can support your immune system, reduce your cholesterol levels and blood pressure, and help to prevent diabetes and heart disease.

2.  Bananas.  Full of potassium, fibre, vitamins C and B6, as well as magnesium and antioxidants, bananas are the perfect snack.  They’ll fill you up and also provide some good pre-workout energy and nutrition.  Alternatively, why not chop them up on cereal for breakfast, or enjoy as an ‘any time snack’ throughout the day.

3.  Apples.  Low in calories, yet sky-high with fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, including potassium, phosphorus, calcium, manganese, magnesium, iron and zinc, as well as vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, E, K, folate, and niacin, apples are nutritious little powerhouses and perfect to eat morning, noon or night.  They are also full of natural sugar called fructose. Fructose is a good energy source that won’t spike your blood sugar levels too much, so an apple before your workout will help to boost your endurance levels.

4.  Almonds.  One of nature’s superfoods, almonds can help to lower bad cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of heart attack, build strong bones and teeth, aid healthy weight loss thanks to high levels of good fats, and also nourish nervous systems.  Almonds are a high source of protein, calcium, skin-loving vitamin E, magnesium and fibre, and contain more antioxidants than broccoli.

5.  Carrots.  Carrots are packed full of an important antioxidant called beta-carotene, which can help to prevent heart disease and certain cancers.  Furthermore, carrots boast high levels of dietary fibre, and essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin A, B vitamins, folate, magnesium and potassium.

6.  Green vegetables.  Spinach, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cabbage are all good sources of fibre, folic acid, calcium and other essential vitamins, such as vitamins A, C and K.  What’s more, green vegetables will keep you feeling fuller for longer – without the calories – so they’re a perfect weight-loss choice.

7.  Onions and garlic.  The essential base to any good dish, onions add flavour without the calories, and they’re proven to help lower the risk of certain cancers too.  Garlic is great for the blood as it can help to reduce the risk of clots.  What’s more, it can lower bad cholesterol levels and help to stabilise blood pressure too.

8.  Tomatoes.  Cooked or tinned are preferable as the processes actually increase the amount of Lycopene, an important antioxidant which is known to help prevent cancer.  Furthermore, tomatoes are packed full of vitamins A, B and C.

9.  Turkey.  Much lower in fat and calories than chicken, turkey boasts high levels of protein, which is essential for muscle growth and repair.  Furthermore, its nutritional content is impressive too, with B vitamins, iron, zinc, selenium, potassium and phosphorous top of its list of goodness.

10.  Eggs. Another excellent source of protein – particularly if you’re a vegetarian, eggs are low in calories but very high in nutrition.  Antioxidants called Lutein and Zeaxanthin have major eye benefits, and B vitamins, as well as vitamin A, folate, phosphorous, and selenium all rank in high percentages.

For more tips and recipes as well as nutritional information head over to the NHS website.