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Health Connection Fast Facts: Healthy Snacking During Times of Stress

When you’re feeling anxious or scared, it’s normal to seek relief by reaching for comfort foods such as chips, cookies, candies, and ice cream. While tasty and satisfying, these foods are often high in fat, salt, and calories—while providing little to no nutrition.

When you are feeling stressed, it’s especially important for your health to eat well.

Stress can take its toll on your immune system, while good nutrition can boost immunity. Learn how to nourish your body with snacks containing vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and proteins. It’s okay to have the occasional treat, but practice portion control to limit your intake of empty calories.

Here are some ways to snack healthy at home:

  1. Avoid eating food straight from its original package because it is very easy to overeat. Take only what you plan to eat and place the serving on a plate or in a bowl. Doing so is a great way to control your portions and eat mindfully.
  2. Try dehydrated vegetable chips such as kale, sugar snap peas, beets, string beans, and carrots in place of potato chips. Veggie chips are an excellent source of fiber and vitamins.
  3. Craving something sweet? Choose fresh or frozen fruits, which are high in vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. They taste delicious on their own and in blended smoothies.
  4. Mix fresh or frozen fruits with non-fat Greek yogurt or low-fat cottage cheese for a satisfying snack or meal side. These snacks are rich in protein, calcium, and vitamins.
  5. Whole grains such as whole wheat crackers, whole wheat bread, pasta, brown rice, or quinoa are good sources of fiber and B vitamins.
  6. Keep fresh or frozen vegetables on hand. Carrots, celery, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes with hummus, salsa, or guacamole make excellent snacks. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.
  7. Remember to stay hydrated, which can help you feel less hungry. Aim for at least 6 to 8 cups (48-64 ounces) of fluid per day. The best liquids to drink are water, flavored sparkling water, unsweetened iced tea, and seltzer water.

Healthy snacking is easy! Taking care of yourself today will help you have a healthier tomorrow. Learn more about healthy snacking from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at eatright.org. View their tip sheet for Smart Snacking for Adults and Teens.

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For more information, please contact us at communityed@hss.edu.

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