BY CAROL HARRISON, RD
Stress snacking is a common response to all the uncertainty in the world these days. Many people are looking for help with stress snacking, including better-for-you snack ideas, and this is where you can help.
- Work on mindset first. Start from a place of compassion, not guilt. Remind clients not to be too hard on themselves – elevated mental stress and the fatigue that comes with it naturally drives us to seek comfort, and food is comforting. Share these food-free ways to manage stress:
- Create regular sleep and exercise routines to improve mood and tackle fatigue.
- Limit consumption of caffeine and alcohol, which can both interfere with sleep.
- Schedule time for relaxing activities each day.
- Help with managing cravings. When we need comfort, many of us reach for sweet or fatty treats. These tips can help:
Eat nutritious foods at regular times throughout the day. Skipping meals can bring on cravings.
- Keep healthy snacks on hand. Include better-for-you snack foods on your grocery list. (See ideas below.)
- Eat a small amount of what you crave rather than deprive yourself entirely.
- Share specific ideas for better-for-you snacking. Keep them simple so that people can easily put them into action. Here are three tasty options:
- Pair veggies with a great dip. Bean dips are fibre-packed and as easy to make as a smoothie – just blitz the ingredients in a food processor. Canned beans are both budget-friendly and convenient.
- Recipe: White Bean Dip (keeps 4–5 days in the fridge and makes a nice spread, too).
- Tip: To ensure you’re buying Canadian, look for “Product of Canada” on the can label.
- Spread seed butter on sliced fruit. Make it easy for your clients by sharing the names of better-for-you brands. For example, Healthy Crunch makes nut-free sunflower-seed spreads, developed by a registered dietitian to ensure the best possible nutrition profiles with only 1–3 grams of sugar per serving (they’re also Keto Certified and made in Canada).
- Tip: Seed butter is also great in a smoothie or swirled into a small bowl of oatmeal.
- Wrap beef meatballs in lettuce. Here’s a genius time-saver: make a batch of “square” meatballs and freeze them. When you need a snack, simply reheat. A protein-packed meatball in a bibb lettuce leaf, topped with chopped cilantro (or green onion), grated carrot, and a drizzle of hoisin sauce, is anything but a ho-hum snack! Get the recipe: Big Batch Speedy Square Meatballs
Tip: Clients looking to cut back on saturated fat may be surprised to know that, according to research by Statistics Canada, adults get 44% of their saturated fat from fast food, sweetened baked goods, snack foods, and other items outside of the Canada Food Guide’s main food categories. Fresh (not processed) red meat accounts for only 9% of the saturated fat we eat (and 5% of total calorie intake).