Being cooped up in your home combined with additional stress may cause you to reach for your favorite comfort foods. You’re not alone. Many of us often eat snacks that are high in sugar or saturated fats when we encounter stress, anxiety or depression. Cheryl D. Woolf, registered dietitian with UT Physicians, shares her expertise on types of food to aim for to feel energized and satisfied throughout the day.
“When grocery shopping, try to pick up foods that have protein and fiber on the back of the nutrition label. Proteins, such as Greek yogurt, nuts or low sodium turkey are what help us stay fuller for longer and control blood sugar levels,” said Woolf. “Higher fiber carbohydrates, such as whole-wheat crackers, fruits or oatmeal are what gives us energy, helps us feel more satisfied and improves digestion. By combining proteins and fiber rich carbohydrates at meals and snacks, you will stay more focused if working from home or helping your kids with their schoolwork!”
Many times, foods advertised as healthier options, such as “multigrain,” “low-fat,” or “free of high fructose corn syrup,” can actually be misleading. “Foods low in fiber and protein, such as granola bars, cookies, or chips, tend to digest a lot faster after we eat them, causing us to be hungrier sooner and more tired. Checking nutrition labels can help you confirm if a food will lead to more sustained energy and satisfaction,” said Woolf.
Eating a balanced diet along with regular exercise is the key to good health. “Try to get up and move your body every 30 minutes if working at the computer or sitting down for long periods of time, said Woolf. “Exercise helps move oxygen around your body so you feel more energized.” If you are in the mood for something sweet, try this zucchini muffin recipe by Bren Did which contains no flour or oil. This fiber-rich recipe is full of flavor. It will boost your energy level and help improve your digestion.
- 2.5 cups old fashioned oats
- 2–3 large bananas (1 cup mashed)
- 2 large eggs (lightly beaten)
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (honey can also be used)
- 2.5 cups shredded zucchini (peeled or unpeeled)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/3 cup chocolate chips, mini (optional, plus 1 Tbsp. for topping)
Baking instructions and nutrition information can be found here.