Stress Reduction Strategies
By Carleton Rivers, MS, RD, LD
We all deal with stress at some point in our lives. Whether it is caused by your job, family, finances, health or the holidays, stress can be damaging to your health and happiness. Stress can lead to a number of diseases and conditions such as depression, insomnia, heart disease and obesity.
There are several ways to reduce your stress. Maybe you have found relief through meditation or exercise. Perhaps you have found that maintaining a healthy diet is your best course of action in keeping stress at bay. But do you realize that planning ahead might be the key to reducing your stress?
Improve Your Mood with Food!
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Situation 1: You’ve had a rough day at work. On the way home you realize you do not have any food there, but the last thing you want to do is go to the grocery store and then cook dinner. So instead you find yourself at the nearest fast food restaurant eating a calorie-laden meal, or at the booth of your favorite restaurant about to shovel out more money than you’ve budgeted for this month.
Situation 2: You’ve had a rough day at work and on your way home you realize you already have your ingredients and recipe ready to make a quick, easy, healthy meal. Maybe you’ve already prepared your meal ahead of time and all you have to do is pull it from the freezer and pop it in the oven.
Which situation sounds less stressful? Planning your weekly meals and snacks ahead of time can help you de-stress by allowing you to save money, save time, and eat more nutritious, home cooked meals. Follow the steps below to begin de-stressing your life one grocery list at a time.
Recipes for Success
Step #1: Learn About a Healthy Diet
Eating Healthy Through the Lifespan: Pregnancy
Eating Healthy Through the Lifespan: Birth to Toddler
Eating Healthy Through the Lifespan: Preschool to Adolescence
Eating Healthy Through the Lifespan: Adulthood
Eating Healthy Through the Lifespan: Older Adults
Step #2: Budget-Friendly Meal Planning
- Grocery shop once a week
- Set aside 30 to 60 minutes one day a week to plan a week of meals
- Consult your family calendar and plan meals accordingly
- Scan your refrigerator and pantry to see what items you already have
- Visit grocery store websites to view weekly ads (in-season produce and store brands will be less expensive and prepackaged, prepared items will be more expensive)
- Create a week's worth of meals using items you already have and ones that are on sale
- Create a shopping list based on your weekly meals
- Pantry Staples
- Quick, Healthy Meals
- Be sure to stick to your shopping list when grocery shopping