March 29, 2019

National Stress Awareness Month

April is National Stress Awareness Month where health care professionals and health promotion experts bring to light some common causes and tips for reducing stress. Finding out what the stressors in your life are is the first step in learning how to manage stress. Some other ways to help manage stress are knowing your limits, taking a deep breath then changing your reaction to a stressful situation, taking time to do an activity that brings you joy, completing some physical activity, and eating nutritious meals throughout the day; especially a well-balanced breakfast.

It is very easy to over eat or not eat at all when we become stressed but it is important to remember our body needs fuel throughout the day. We are similar to cars, no gas in the tank means the car will not start but with gas in the tank the car is able to go. By practicing mindfulness during meals and snacks, our body will be able to become aware of our thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations related to eating. This lets our brains determine our hunger and satiety cues. Check out the tips below for how to begin practicing mindful eating.

Mindfulness may be practiced in your average daily living activities at home, at work, and even out with friends. Research backs the benefits of practicing mindfulness regularly. The benefits include creativity, focus, reduced stress and anxiety, management of difficult emotions, increased productivity, and fewer sick days.

Fun Fact: Volunteering, according to an article in Harvard Health Guide stated that helping others makes us feel good which in turn improves our psychological and physical health. Kindness is contagious and the comradery the volunteers have for each other by working together for the greater good of others boost morale. Consider volunteering with MANNA! CLICK HERE for more information on how you or a group can begin volunteering with MANNA.


10 Tips for Practicing Mindful Eating:

1. Reflect – Before you start eating, take a moment to see how you feel. Sad? Happy? Bored? Hungry? This will help determine if you want to eat, what to eat, and how you want to eat.

2. Take a seat- Sitting down to enjoy your meal will help you fully appreciate the food you eat.

3. Turn off the distractions – Turn off the TV and put away the phone. These distractions will cause us to overeat.

4. See what you eat- Take the food out of the bag and put it in a bowl or on a plate. Seeing food with your eyes can be just as important.

5. Portion size – Choosing a smaller plate will trick our brains in to thinking we are eating more.

6. Give thanks – Take a moment to be thankful for the work that went into making that meal. Give yourself thanks that you made a delicious meal or maybe even more thanks that someone else took a turn in making the meal for you!

7. Put the silverware down- After each bite put down the fork and spoon and allow yourself time to chew before picking them back up for another bite.

8. Chew 20 times – It sounds difficult, but challenge yourself sometimes to chew one bite of food 20 times. You will appreciate all the flavor and texture the food has to offer.

9. Listen to your hunger signals – If you feel full do not force yourself to finish the plate of food. Save it for when you feel hungry again.

10. Silence – This may be a bit impractical for families but try for 3 minutes to eat in silence to really experience eating. Having a few minutes for a quiet moment might be nicer than you think!


List of Healthy Breakfast Ideas to Start your Mindful Day Right:

Pairing a carbohydrate food with a protein or fat is important to keep you satiated until your next meal. Eating only a carbohydrate food will be processed quickly and make you feel hungry sooner. Carbohydrate foods will give you a quick spike of energy but come down crashing soon after. The pairing of macronutrients will take longer to digest making you feel full and satisfied until lunch! You will have much better focus and concentration on the task at hand when your mind isn’t focusing on the next time you will eat.

Spinach on Eggs and Toast – 2 Eggs on 1 slice of whole wheat toast with 1 slice of Swiss cheese and ¼ cup spinach leaves

Nutty Monkey Toast – 1 slice of whole wheat toast with, 1 tbsp. of nut spread, and 1 sliced banana (Add ½ tbsp. of chocolate chips for added sweetness)

Creamy Fruit Smoothie – ½ cup Greek yogurt, ½ cup frozen fruit of choice, and 1 scoop protein powder

Oatmeal Bowl- 1 cup of oatmeal with ¼ cup fruit, 1 tbsp. nuts, ¼ cup skim milk, a drizzle of honey

Greek Yogurt Parfait – ½ cup Greek yogurt, ¼ cup fruit, and ¼ cup dry oatmeal

PB & J Waffle Sandwich – 2 toasted frozen waffles with 1 tbsp. of peanut butter and 1 tbsp. of jelly