hey say ‘you are
what you eat’. This is
especially true when you
are hit by the moods—
whether you arc feeling
low or stressed, tired or unhappy,
there is a food for you. However, you
don’t have to eat high-calorie comfort
food; instead, choose healthy options.
apples « beans «broccoli
Low blood sugar could be the crabby
culprit, making you feel irritable and
tired and often causing headaches and
shakiness, says Bonnie Taub-Dix, MA,
RD, CDN, and spokesperson for the
American Dietetic Association. Eating
complex carbs, such as apples, beans,
broccoli, and wholegrains, can help
boost your blood sugar.
An increased risk of low blood
sugar also comes with skipping meals.
“This is especially true if you skip
breakfast,” says Elizabeth Somer, MA,
RD, author of
Food and Mood: The
Complete Guide to Eating Well and
Feeling Your Best.
Somer recommends starting your
day right. “Get at least two servings
of a quality grain to fuel your body, a
little protein to help keep your blood
sugar stable, and one to two servings
of fruit or vegetables, which give you
healthy doses of antioxidants.”
You also can beat a crabby mood by
eating on a regular schedule. Choose
light snacks in between healthy meals,
such as one serving of low-fat cheese
and wholegrain crackers. Or keep
a fruit at hand. If you can, opt for a
serving of low-fat yogurt, which gives
you both the protein and carbs.
wholewheat bread »brown rice
A low level of serotonin, a chemical in
the brain that makes you feel calm,
happy, and even helps you sleep, could
be why you’re feeling blue. Somer
says that about 30 grams of complex
carbs are all you need for a pick-me-
up, which you could get from a slice of
wholewheat bread with 1 cup of fruit.
“Choose an all-carbohydrate snack
such as wholegrain bread or brown
rice,” Taub-Dix says. “Have your bread
with a little honey, salt- and butter-
free popcorn, or top your wholewheat
toast with some sugar-free jam.”
Complex carbohydrates boost the
level of serotonin in the brain but
the effect gets reduced when the
carbohydrates are eaten with fat or
protein. So give them a miss.
Unfortunately, cookies and candy
aren’t complex carbs. Their simple
sugars offer a short-term fix, but soon
after you cat, your energy will crash
and your mood will dip.
Somer also suggests enjoying foods
containing omega-3 fatty acids. One
omega-3, DHA, is best. “All omega-3s
arc good for heart health, but DHA
is best for depression,” she says.
You can get DHA from fatty fish or
supplements. “Try' to get at least 200
mg/day of DHA,” she says.
asparagus baby carrots celery
sweet peppers gum
Eating when you’re bored means you’re
using food more for entertainment than
for hunger—a habit that can pack on
the kilos. “The worst thing you can do
to yourself when you’re bored is turn to
food,” Somer says.
If you absolutely must munch on
something, choose a vegetable that’s
low in calories, such as asparagus,
carrot, celery, cucumber, or bell pepper,
or chew on some gum to distract
you. And keep your typical boredom
foods out of the house so you won’t be
tempted to grab that bag of salty chips
when the mood strikes.
Better yet, try doing activities that
burn calories instead of consuming
them, such as going for a walk, trying
an at-home workout, or going to an
exercise class close to your home.
Take a mental note of the situations
when you eat. Do you always eat when
your favourite TV shows are on? And
do you eat a particular food out of
habit? Such as grabbing a large bag of
popcorn and an extra-large cola at the
movies? Separating the food and the
activity can help you better manage
your diet and even help you lose kilos.
So for your next movie, carry an apple!
9 6 FEBRUARY 2011 BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS