Stress is something we all face at one point or another in life. A small amount of stress is normal and can be a positive thing, but too much stress can have serious effects on our health and wellness.

In part, that’s because when we’re stressed, we’re more likely to practice unhealthy habits, including eating junk and processed foods.

During National Nutrition Month this March, our team at AFC Urgent Care North Carolina wants to talk a bit about how stress leads to unhealthy eating and how you can fight back.

Does Stress Cause Unhealthy Eating?

Yes! It’s a known contributor. When you are stressed, you are more likely to make poor eating choices, such as loading up on unhealthy foods like sweets and fast food.

Stress can also cause you to not sleep as well during the night. That can also make you more likely to indulge that sweet tooth—or to turn to other unhealthy habits to cope, such as smoking. It’s important to instead find healthy methods of managing stress.

Ways to Manage Stress

  • Keep a positive attitude.
  • Accept that there are events that you cannot control.
  • Be assertive instead of aggressive.
  • Learn and practice relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga or tai chi.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
  • Journal or keep a gratitude diary.

What Are Some Simple Ways to Eat Healthy?

We identified above that eating a balanced diet is one way to help manage stress effectively. But what exactly does that involve?

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be complicated. Practicing some basics can go a long way—fill half your plate with fruits and veggies, choose lean protein sources, cook your food in healthy ways such as baking or grilling, limit your alcohol consumption, and limit your intake of salt, added sugars and saturated fat. Certain foods can even help you fight stress.

Foods That Help Fight Stress

  • Herbal tea
  • Dark chocolate
  • Whole grains
  • Avocados
  • Fish
  • Warm milk

Our mission at AFC Urgent Care North Carolina is to provide affordable, high-quality health care to those across the state of North Carolina!