By Natalie Murphy, RDN, LDNatalie Murphy is a registered dietitian nutritionist at Central Oregon Nutrition Consultants in Bend, Oregon.
Do you find that there is a particular food that you turn to for comfort? Or have you reached the bottom of that bag of chips and still feel mad or sad but now have a stomach ache too?

You may be eating to quench emotional hunger. Food can be one tool that will regulate emotions. However, it is seldom a lasting resolution. Create a tool belt of ideas to try when you find yourself mindlessly munching. This list will vary for everyone. Some may find it helpful to journal to work through sadness. Some may find taking a walk may cool things down when mad. Here are some ideas to try:

  • Take a walk barefoot on green grass
  • Write in a journal
  • Call a friend to talk
  • Take a bath or shower
  • Play a board game
  • Ride a bike
  • Read a book
  • Take a dog for a walk
  • Get out in nature to listen to sounds of birds or a river
  • Give yourself a manicure or pedicure
  • Clean something (mop floor, clean out a dresser drawer…)

Next time you find yourself munching away when not physically hungry pause and ask yourself, “what am I feeling?” Sad, glad, mad, bored. Put down the box or bag and commit to one of the activities above for 10 minutes. See if that desire to munch decreases.

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