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Foods that Fight Stress! | Nutrition Month

A smiling woman sitting down to eat a healthy green salad.
Foods that Fight Stress! | Nutrition Month Featured Image

Oh my goodness guys, yesterday I had the BEST time on Breakfast Television talking about foods that fight stress!

We made a stress busting oatmeal cookie smoothie, which, of course I made low FODMAP for all my IBS’ers with TONS of stress busting ingredients.

I had the opportunity to work with Quaker Oats, as well as Manitoba Harvest, two companies I’m SO proud to represent.

We talked about how smart snacking can help to manage stress.

Ever find you tend to gravitate towards carbs when you’re stressed? I know I do! Carbohydrate intake influences serotonin release in our body – our ‘happy hormone’. It’s no WONDER you tend to gravitate towards carbs when you’re stressed!

Usually, when my clients are stressed they tend to go for ‘quick energy’ – simple carbohydrates – which give them a quick hit of energy, that boost in serotonin – however it’s followed by the inevitable crash associated with how quickly your body can metabolize those carbs, leaving you worse off than when you started. And so the  cycle of stress eating starts again.

How to prevent cyclic stress eating and indulging

To stave off this crash, and that guilt that comes after snack after snack, after snack – I get my clients to make SURE they fuel up on COMPLEX CARBS.

Complex carbohydrates give you the energy boost you’re looking for, but help to keep you full longer. Complex carbs are digested slower. They help to prevent that post snack crash, too, by creating a slower rise in blood sugar, and thusly, a slower drop later in the day, often just in time for your next meal!

One of my FAVOURITE forms of complex carbs are oats. As someone who includes whole grains, but watches their FODMAP intake (for IBS), I feel great about including oats – for breakfast, in smoothies, as flour for pancakes, in granola bars and more. Quaker has so many super speedy breakfast products – a huge hit in our house when we’re running behind! You can see all the Quaker breakfast products I’m talking about here. Current obsession: using Quaker oats to make head their fruit baked oatmeal – though I like to sub out the raisins for bananas or raspberries (frozen & low FODMAP).

For all the awesome products, recipes for breakfast, snacks, and more – you can check out QuakerOats.ca here.

On the segment, we talked about a recipe that is ALL THE RAGE at the Hardy household currently. My Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie Recipe. The oats give you the complex carbs – and hello – who doesn’t crave cookies when their stressed? This is a great way to crush that craving, still get some carbs, and keep your energy levels stable. Talk about win-win!

This fibre filled, low FODMAP, oatmeal cookie smoothie recipe is to DIE for. What a sweet treat for snacks, or breakfast! | Ignite Nutrition Inc. Andrea Hardy Registered Dietitian

What brings this smoothie to a whole other level of stress-busting goodness is the fat and protein found in the hemp hearts. I’m a hemp heart junkie, as I’m sure you know by now. They’re all over my Instagram and in my recipes. Why they’re SO stress busting is two fold!

  • They’re packed with protein and heart healthy fat – great for preventing post-snack crash.
  • helllllloooo Omega-3’s. In Alberta, I find my clients aren’t big fish eaters. I try to get fish in – but honestly it’s just not the  same as when I’m on the coast. Thusly, I try to get my omega-3’s from other sources! In 1 serving of hemp seed, there are 3 grams of omega-3 fats, which have been shown to reduce inflammation and may help to boost mood.

Leah and I talked about great ways to get hemp hearts in – I like to sprinkle them on my salads and yogurt, in my smoothies, and mix them into my oatmeal!

Don’t forget about chocolate

Lastly – we had to talk about it- because it’s everyone’s FAVOURITE food to fight stress… CHOCOLATE! Now, I know what you’re thinking. But isn’t chocolate bad for you? Well. You know my motto – all foods fit. I encourage my clients to enjoy a really delicious piece of dark chocolate, in a portion they need to feel satisfied, and never as a ‘bandaid’ for stress, but rather out of enjoyment. There have been some cool, small scale studies that suggest chocolate may reduce cortisol (our stress hormone) excretion as well as inflammatory markers that tend to become elevated when we’re stressed.

As a Food First dietitian, I can get behind dark chocolate (we all know it’s a staple in my house!)

Here’s the segment, if you missed it! Andrea Hardy, Calgary's top 10 dietitians is live on Breakfast Television Calgary talking about how foods can fight stress!


Categorized: Gut Health & IBS, Healthy Eating

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