When we think of stress eating, the image that typically comes to mind is us reaching for our favourite sweet or salty comfort foods when our stressful lifestyle gets the best of us. But there is a better form of stress eating, yet it might be a little less known.
When we are stressed, cortisol, our stress hormone is all out of whack. This causes issues when it comes to regulating our body sugar because cortisol is also responsible for that important function in our body. Our blood sugar levels being out of balance may not seem like a big deal, but you will definitely know it when they are.
Have you ever felt:
You know, the quintessential signs of hanger? These are the typical signs that our blood sugar is too low, a common side effect of stress. Luckily, we can manage our blood sugar using our diet. The keys are:
Eating regularly so you aren’t letting your blood sugar get too low between meals.
Eating food that isn’t broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream too quickly so you aren't causing a spike in your blood sugar.
So having some well-planned snacks can help to balance your blood sugar. Here are some helpful guidelines to use snacks to balance your blood sugar and deal with these stress-induced symptoms:
Ensure every meal and snack contains fat, protein and carbs. Having all three macronutrients slows down the breakdown and absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, so our blood sugar doesn’t spike as drastically.
Eat every 2.5 - 3 hours, whether it be a snack or meal. Again, it’s all about constantly fueling our body to prevent major blood sugar dips. We want our snacks to be a balance of fat, protein and carbs.
When choosing carbs, aim for whole grain options. Whole grain options contain more fibre, which slows down the breakdown and absorption. This includes options like brown rice, whole grain oats, quinoa and buckwheat.
When choosing sugars, aim for less refined/less processed natural sweeteners. By refining sugar, you are essentially making it easier for our body to break down and absorb, this is going to lead to a big spike in blood sugar. Instead of refined sugar, opt for options like maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, or date sugar.
These tips can be extended beyond snacks, as they can be applied to meals as well.
Here are some super-simple balanced snacks that will not only manage your hunger, but also your blood sugar:
Apple Slices with Sunflower Seed Butter
Dried Mango and Brazil Nuts
Hard Boiled Eggs
Celery and Almond Butter
Roasted Edamame or Roasted Chickpea
Veggies with Hummus and Guacamole
Plain Yogurt with Pistachios
If you want additional snack ideas that will satisfy your taste buds and balance your blood sugar levels, you can download this recipe book for additional inspiration.
Try being more intentional with your snacking choices and your eating schedule and see how your typical signs of hangry slowly disappear. You will be filled with energy and ready to take on whatever your day has to offer.
Want to learn more?
Check out this blog on how stress can cause rollercoaster of blood sugar levels
Check out this blog on balancing blood sugar levels.
Check out this blog on why intermittent fasting might not be for you.
Check out this blog on my personal eating habits.