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Stress Eaters Anonymous

I must confess: I am a stress eater. When I have a lot on my metaphorical plate, it helps me cope if I also have a lot of food on my literal plate. In times of stress, I want sweet things, I want cheesy things, I want crunchy things, and I want them in excess and as soon as possible. Maybe the reason stress is so bad for your health is because of what it does to your diet… But hey, whatever gets you through all those finals in one piece, right? Here I’ve compiled a list of some foods that I have found to help with those “it’s that time of the semester” woes.

1. Biscoff cookie spread

Source: creative-culinary.com

Source: creative-culinary.com

This is just something that every stress eater should have in their cupboard. It can be eaten in many ways that require little to no time or preparation—perfect for when you don’t have a lot of extra time on your hands and have a craving for something decadent. It’s similar to peanut butter and Nutella, but it’s made of cookies! I particularly appreciate it because it’s nut-allergy-friendly. It comes in both smooth and crunchy varieties (I recommend crunchy) and has a variety of genius uses – you can:

  • Add it to ice cream for instant cookie-dough swirl
  • Mix it into oatmeal, along with chocolate chips, for chocolate-chip cookie oatmeal
  • Use it for dunking – use apples, bananas, marshmallows, pretzels, etc.
  • If you’re really stressed, just eat it our of the jar by the spoonful. Go ahead, no one’s judging you.

2. Variations on microwave popcorn

Source: club.chicacircle.com

Source: club.chicacircle.com

Popcorn is another quick and easy snack that doesn’t fill you up too much. Microwave popcorn, while great plain, can be jazzed up in countless ways. Here are some ideas for add-ins:

  • Seasoning, like garlic and rosemary, or dill and lemon zest
  • Red wine vinegar and salt, for “salt & vinegar” popcorn
  • Melted mozzarella and fresh basil
  • Toasted pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries
  • A drizzle of honey
  • Chocolate chips, marshmallows, and graham cracker crumbs (or Golden Grahams® cereal)

3. Nachos

The ultimate quick snack that is both crunchy AND cheesy. Grab yourself some tortilla chips, salsa, shredded cheddar cheese, and a microwave, and feel your worries melt away with every bite! Lay the chips out on a plate with minimal overlap so as to ensure maximum surface area for the cheese and salsa. Spread your cheese over the chips (don’t be shy – “less is more” does not apply to cheese) and microwave until the cheese is melted. Plop some salsa on top and you have yourself a nice plate of nachos to distract you from that 10-page paper you have to write.

4. Brownies

Baking can be therapeutic. Sometimes it’s good to give yourself a break from everything you have going on and just spend some quality time with your kitchen. Brownies are perfect because they’re easy to make, so you aren’t likely to mess them up and therefore become more stressed. Plus, according to this article, chocolate can help reduce the levels of stress hormones in your body! Whatever recipe (or mix) you use, add chocolate chips AND swirl some jarred fudge into the batter. The more chocolate you eat, the fewer stress hormones you’ll have, right?? I’m sure that’s how it works… Other ideas for add-ins include cut-up Milky Way and/or Snickers candy bars, crushed nuts (smashing them is a great way to release tension!), or raspberry jam.

5. Homemade chips

Source: 3.bp.blogspot.com

Source: 3.bp.blogspot.com

Have some stale bagels lying around? Did you steal a couple of bananas from Dewick today? Or maybe you have a zucchini or two in the fridge? These foods all have something in common: they can easily be made into chips, which are a great snack to eat while studying. Slice them thin, place them on a baking sheet with some oil, sprinkle with desired seasoning, and bake until crisp and slightly browned. For the bagels and bananas, you can sprinkle the slices with cinnamon and sugar for a sweet snack, or you can use salt and pepper. And in contrast to some of these other snack ideas I’ve given you, this is a fairly healthy option, if you’re into that kind of thing…

 -Sara Pantel

Cover image source.

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