Following a breakup, many of us naturally turn to high-calorie foods to help ease the pain and make us feel better. However, a diet of junk food can have implications on your health and appearance that will stick with you long after your ex has become a distant memory. Fortunately, there are many foods that will satisfy your cravings without compromising your health. Here are 5 common breakup foods and their healthy alternatives, to help get you through your breakup feeling better than ever.
Ice cream is one of the world’s most popular comfort foods. However, the frozen dessert is packed with calories, meaning that working your way through litres of the stuff will more likely leave you feeling guilty, bloated and sluggish than comforted.
Indulge your cravings without the guilt by replacing ice cream with a low fat tub of frozen yoghurt – or fruit sorbet, if you are feeling particularly saintly. With the many flavours of frozen yoghurt available today, switching your frozen treat does not have to mean compromising on taste. For an added health boost, try sprinkling some walnuts on your dessert to up your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help improve your mood.
Chocolate is another food frequently in demand following a breakup. Unfortunately, chocolate – like many of our favourite treats – is high in fat and sugar. However, if you find yourself craving chocolate following a breakup, there is no need to completely deny yourself.
Chocolate contains relaxing magnesium, soothing anandamide and mood-boosting phenylethylamine, making chocolate a good mood food. To safeguard your health, try snacking on dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate, and limit your intake to a few squares a day. Alternatively, try switching your chocolate bar for some chocolate-covered strawberries or raisins to up the nutritional value of your snack.
Crisps and chips
Family-sized bags of potato or tortilla chips are all too tempting to tuck into in the face of a breakup. However, not only are crisps packed with fat, calories and salt, but they have next to no nutritional value, so munching on them is unlikely to leave you feeling great.
To satisfy cravings while improving your health and waistline, try swapping crisps for some lightly seasoned popcorn; a healthy wholegrain snack that is lower in fat than crisps, higher in fibre, and packed with antioxidants and nutrients. Popcorn also contains B vitamins, which have great mood-boosting properties.
Few of us feel like cooking when we are down, so pizzas and takeaways might seem like a good meal option following a breakup. However, while the odd slice of pizza is unlikely to do you any harm, making pizza a regular part of your diet is likely to take its toll on your health, mood and appearance.
Fortunately, pizza is a “junk food” that actually has many healthy elements when done right, so next time you are tempted by a pizza, try forcing yourself out in the kitchen to prepare a healthy version instead. To make a healthier pizza, try replacing the dough with some wholegrain ciabatta or pitta bread, and pile on the veg. While it is also wise to go easy on the mozzarella, a bit of cheese could actually do you good due to its high levels of tryptophan ; an amino acid which boosts serotonin.
Cakes and cookies
If cakes and cookies are your weakness, it may be worth switching to some lower fat alternatives to help you stay in shape while braving your breakup. To replace the cookies, opt for some chocolate or caramel flavoured rice or corn cakes, which are lower in fat, calories and cholesterol. Alternatively, try some dried fruit oatcakes, or a healthy fruit and seed bar.
If you are craving something sweet but slightly more stodgy, try replacing cakes with hot-cross buns, malt loaf or sweet bagels, which are lower in fat than cake (so long as you go easy on the margarine!) and also have a higher nutritional value. Alternatively, try some pure fruit spread on toast or crumpets for an easy, healthy and comforting sweet snack.
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