Stress eating can be a serious problem for us students, and it can often prevent you from nourishing yourself properly, which can have an effect on your everyday life. It always seems that the foods we choose to eat when stressed tend to be what’s most unhealthy for us (chocolate, chips, cake and basically anything I can get my hands on). Below are a few tips and tricks to help you stress eat in a healthier way, as well as a few things you can do to help prevent it.
1. Choose Healthier Options
I know it’s a lot easier said than done, but if you’re going for something sweet, fruit can be a good replacement. Frozen grapes? Yes, please. Cheese and crackers can replace your salty cravings, and if you do have a favourite snack, chances are you can find a healthier version of it online.
2. Drink Water
Most of the time (at least for me), stress eating comes from the need to keep busy, so having just a bottle of water nearby can really help. Also, chewing on ice could work if you need a crunch. It’s the perfect way to hydrate and satisfy your “hunger”, or lack thereof.
3. Don’t Buy Food on Campus
Try leaving your wallet at home when you’ll be spending the day in the library. Yes, money for emergencies is great to have, but you won’t be needing it. Another option is to portion and pack your own snacks, making it less likely for you to binge eat.
4. Reduce Stress Without the Food
I know, I know, again a lot easier said than done. But, there are other ways to reduce your stress. Keeping hand cream in your backpack and taking a couple minutes to put it on, or even- yes, the dreaded- fidget spinner or stress ball, can help with your cramming.
5. Know Your Triggers
Next time you find yourself in a stress eating situation, pay attention to what exactly is happening, and if it helps, write it down. Is it the time crunch that has you reaching for those chips? Or is it to suppress feelings of anxiety? Ask yourself the question, “Am I really hungry?” and you have your answer. Getting to know yourself is absolutely key to understanding your triggers.
6. Get Some Sleep
It is known that being sleep deprived can be a direct link to stress, and therefore stress eating. Take care of your body, because harming yourself by not getting enough sleep is not worth that one grade.
Follow these tips, and hopefully, your next study session won’t have your elbows deep in a Deep and Delicious cake. If you do think your problem is serious, please contact the Laurier Student Wellness Centre to provide some extra guidance.