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Quick and easy meal plans for stress management

Food and stress are related!! Have you heard about the term stress eating?

‘Aaj bai nahi aayegi, I have to do all the work!’
‘You forgot your homework yesterday, now we will have to  finish it fast before the van gets here.’
‘The client has shifted the deadline, I am going to have to work extra late today. This might help me in my appraisals.’
‘I did not have my period on time.’
‘You don’t have time for me these days, the kids and the home has become your priority.’

These and many more such small situations build up the stress levels in women. We all want to be that superwoman who achieves a perfect balance between house, kids, husband, and career.

Stress eating

However, when this stress becomes unbearable, we seek comfort in different things – the most important of that being food. Suddenly hogging the food, especially sweets seems an attractive option. Stress levels increase cortisol levels which in turn causes an increase in food cravings, as per a study by researchers at the San Francisco Medical center. But we need to understand the basic difference between gobbling food for comfort purposes and eating the right kind of comfort food. Sometimes more we eat, the worse our mood gets. This cortisol also triggers an enzyme leading to an increase in visceral fat levels and in turn in obesity. So it is essential that we understand what kind of foods to eat to have a calming effect on our stress levels.

Foods good for managing stress

Ensure that you include these foods in your diet to help you manage your stress levels –

  1. Berries, have the highest level of antioxidants and are rich in Vitamin C as well.
  2. Cashews, being crunchy easily satisfy the cravings and are a perfect combo of protein and fat, but need to be taken in small portions at one single time.
  3. Chocolate – do I need to elaborate? Besides being perfect comfort food, chocolate acts as antioxidant and is heart-healthy if eaten in moderate quantities.
  4. Garlic – is extremely helpful in strengthening our immunity system, which is especially weak during high-stress levels. It is an antioxidant as well.
  5. Green tea – a hot cup of green tea has a more calming effect than coffee. Coffee makes you jumpier and affects your nerves negatively. Green tea on the other hand has a way of working on stress levels along with reducing your weight.
  6. Oatmeal is the perfect comfort food as it actually produces serotonin, which is a feel-good chemical.
  7. Oranges – Packed with vitamin C, oranges help energize us along with fighting the stress.
  8. Oysters, if you are a non-vegetarian, oysters apart from being an aphrodisiac, are power-packed with zinc.
  9. Tomatoes,  apart from being a stress reliever, also help improve our skin and reduce wrinkle lines.
  10. Eggs – you can have it in any way you want, but the eggs keep you full for a long time, maintain glucose levels and hence help fight off stress.

It’s good to have a few foods handy for emergencies, but mostly you should plan the above foods into your meal plans. These foods actually work on your body and save you from stress, unlike the other comfort foods like wada pav or pakode or even maggie.

Can you think of innovative recipes we can prepare from these comfort foods?

My meal plan for de-stressing

I had a tough day. After dropping my daughter home, although she was down with cough and fever, I had to rush back to the office to finish my work early. But that is not going to happen today as 2-3 emergencies strike me at the same time. I again rush to get back home as soon as possible when I realize, my cook might be off on a leave, my arm is not fully healed and I have a splitting headache. My chest starts to burn with an unbelievable pressure, a pang of guilt building up – the guilt of ignoring my family, my responsibilities. Tears threaten to burst out of my eyes, but I have no time to tend to them.

Without changing my clothes, I rush to the fridge for help. I find –

1. Corn kernels
2. Buttermilk
3. Few cut veggies
4. Chicken pieces

i breathe out a sigh of relief. After putting on a cooker for boiling the corn and part of the veggies, I put another small cooker for chicken pieces and the rest of the veggies.

Quick and easy meal plan


Till the time these two cookers are done, I have my vessel on the third gas with mustard seeds crackling in the oil. I add turmeric, and garlic finely chopped, and then add rice and moong dal. I also add veggies from the cooker after it’s done. After adding three times water. I add spices, chili powder, and salt as per desired taste. Then, I keep a bit of extra water in it to make it easy to eat. I use the recipe from


I generally like Gujrati kadhi to go with my khichadi. I use the recipe from Tarla Dalal to make kadhi

Chicken soup

I get the tips from and prepare my own shortcut chicken recipe.

Spicy corn

I just add a bit of lemon juice, salt, and some seasoning to make a tasty side dish.

In no time my yummy meal of Chicken soup, Khichadi – Kadhi, and Spicy corn is ready (taking around 30-40 minutes). I am
able to chat with my daughter during all this time to keep her distracted from her fever, as the recipes are not really complex. And what’s more, my husband takes charge of cleaning the kitchen to help me out.

My kids are happy, my husband is happy and I am happy as I realize this is the sole reason why I take an effort all day – to get one good meal with my loved ones before going to sleep and this itself is my perfect de-stress recipe.

What is your de-stress recipe?

Do not forget to share with me with #thinkmetime!!

Happy cooking!!

Few other new-age therapies for stress reduction are mentioned in our blog – read them right here!

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