Why We Crave Comfort Foods May 29, 2020
It’s no surprise that around the world people are seeking out comfort food at home. We’ve seen your chocolate chip cookies on social media, along with those glazed cinnamon buns and sourdough starters. There’s something about the smell of baking that can bring comfort in itself. And as an activity, baking can be a way to practice some mindfulness in the kitchen while picking up new skills and having a real sense of achievement at the end of the process. But why do we crave comfort food and what do these cravings mean?
Comfort food makes us feel great. It’s something people turn to for immediate gratification, but this feeling is short-lived when it comes to sugary and carb-heavy foods. A quick fix of sugar is often followed by a slump in energy, which can lead to an unhealthy cycle. The best comfort foods to choose are those with a healthy balance of ingredients, which make the satisfaction last longer, like a veggie-packed lasagne, creamy chicken risotto or a warming veggie bean soup.
There is a strong link between negative emotions, exhaustion, stress and comfort eating. Sometimes we can experience emotional hunger, which we reward with a quick fix of comforting, but unhealthy, foods. If you’re craving chocolate and your body feels like it needs a sugar-high, it could just be your emotions talking. Always try to stop and identify where your hunger is coming from, and try to reach for comforting foods that you associate with happy and healthy memories.
Everyone’s body needs fuel. So if you’re not getting everything you need from your diet throughout the day, you will crave comfort eats. This is because when you don’t maintain a balanced diet, your energy levels are affected. That doesn’t mean you should avoid all cravings for comfort, but eating well during the day will balance the good and the bad. Have healthy snacks ready to go at home, and plan balanced meals for your breakfast, lunch and dinner. Try this Haloumi and Dukkah Couscous bowl for a wholesome lunch.
We’re all still adapting to our new routines at home, and so this also affects your daily eating plan. Having big gaps in between meals can lead to over-hunger, which then triggers cravings for comfort foods, for instant energy. So while you’re working on adjusting your daily routines, don’t forget to give yourself a lunch break!
How to stop eating for comfort
There’s nothing wrong with following your food cravings every now and then, but if you find that your comfort meals are taking over lately, here are some simple tips to get you back on track.
- Make sure you eat regular meals and snacks, but also that they are balanced and healthy.
- Make eating well as easy as possible, with fresh ingredients and balanced meals delivered straight to your door, rather than having to go to the grocery store or shops.
- Always have healthy food options in the pantry and fridge.
- Allow for some comfort eats and treats now and then, so there is no need for cravings.
- Use other distractions when triggers are emotionally driven, e.g. go for a walk or call a friend.
Stay happy and well,
The HelloFresh Team