Saturday, August 8, 2009

Stressed? Try These 7 Easy, Stress-Reducing Mini-Meals for Your Super-Busy, Super-Stressed Day

If you are like most people, stressful situations may make you feel more inclined to start stuffing your face with whatever is closest, cheapest and most convenient.

But whatever you do, don't feed into your stress with junk food and empty calories. However tempting it seems to grab that fast food cheeseburger or polish off an entire bag of M&M's, feeling lethargic and greasy will only make you feel physically worse--and even more stressed out.

Instead, do yourself a favor and try one of the following stress-busting snacks and mini-meals listed below. They're all simple to throw together (or at least easy to buy),so you won't be wasting any time in your packed itinerary.

Even better, you'll have the proper nutrients to stay mentally alert, feel physically well and kick butt for the rest of the day. Doesn't that sound great?

1. Whole Wheat Cereal with Soy or Skim Milk. It's easy, it's healthy, and most importantly--it's fast. Bonus points if you throw in some dried fruit and raisins on top.

Why Eat This: Complex carb food is so much better for you than simple carbs because it takes more time for it to break down, and thus will not cause a spike in your blood sugar level.

2. Baked Sweet Potatoes Slices. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place sliced sweet potatoes in a baking dish coated with olive oil. Add some sprinkles of oregano, salt, pepper, and other spices as desired. Stick it in the oven for an hour, and use that hour to get some household errands done. Take it out of the oven, and you have a hearty, wholesome snack that won't break your health!

Why Eat This: You'll get your carb fix AND sweet tooth fix through a vegetable (as opposed to something that comes in a box or a plastic wrapper.) You will also get beta-carotene, vitamins and fiber as well.

3. A Trail Mix of Pistachios, Walnuts, Almonds and Dried Apricot. Put them in a bag or tupperware to munch on throughout the day. Versatile, non-perishable and super-easy.

Why Eat This: Apricots contain magnesium, a natural stress-buster and muscle relaxant. When you combine that with walnuts and pistachios (helps lower blood pressure) and almonds (helps boost your immune system), you have a potent stress-busting healthy snack that you can't beat. Just make sure the nuts aren't heavily salted.

4. Broccoli and Tempeh Stir-Fry Over Brown Rice. Cut up some broccoli and tempeh slices, and fry them in a wok until tender. Add whatever spices or flavorings you desire. Put them over some cooked brown rice, and you're good to go.

Why Eat This: Broccoli is chock full of vitamins that will protect your body during times of stress. Brown rice contains fiber, Vitamin B and will not spike your blood sugar like white rice or other non-whole-grain carbohydrates. Tempeh contains soy, which is high in protein, calcium and magnesium.

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