Managing Stress Through Nutrition

Managing Stress Through Nutrition

Mar 01, 2024Margaret Barrow

Stress. We all deal with it in some way, shape, or form every day. Most likely, we think of stress as a bad thing, but stress can actually be a good thing at times. Think about when you are working out at the gym. You are technically putting stress on your muscles to make them grow bigger and stronger, which is when stress can be good. However, some stress stemming from career, family, or other things in life, can be, well, stressful.

There are plenty of ways to manage stress. Here are some of our favorites:

Another way to manage stress is through nutrition. A bonus is that it just so happens to be a delicious way to manage stress. Here are some ideas on how you can better manage stress through your daily diet, food choices, and meals.

Woman standing her hands are touching her stomach which has a red glow around.

#1 Avoid or Limit Certain Foods

Irritation in the gut can potentially send signals to the Central Nervous System (CNS) causing mood changes, so avoid or limit foods that are common culprits for inflammation such as alcohol, caffeine, and sugar. By limiting the consumption of these foods, your moods may be more stable and you will be less prone to feelings of anxiety and stress. Photo credit:  Rattankun Thongbun

Smiling woman hugging child while holding a pie in her left hand.

#2 Bake or Cook Up a Homemade Meal

Some people really enjoy baking or cooking as it helps them relieve stress after the day. If that is you, channel that culinary creativity and bake or cook up a homemade meal that helps you de-stress and relax.

You can plan a home-cooked meal for yourself or your entire family at least one day a week. Choose a recipe made with high-quality, whole-food ingredients and enjoy. Photo credit:  Drazen Zigic

Two glass of grapefruit mocktails on a rectangle plate with a piece of fresh grapefruit and pink pearls displayed between the two glasses.

#3 Consider Substitutions

We love comfort food just as much as the next person. Unfortunately, a lot of classic comfort food that we want to reach for when we are feeling stressed can leave us feeling extra full and sluggish. Instead, get creative and try making a different, fun, and new version of all the foods you love. Whether it be mocktails instead of cocktails or plant-based renditions of recipes, check out some of our favorite ways to make a healthier version of the foods you love to eat, especially when you are feeling stressed. Photo credit:  Oksana Karuniene

Five wooden spoons with raw tea in them and some of the tea has spilled onto the counter around the sppons.

#4 Drink Calming Herbs and Teas

There are not many things in life more comforting or soothing than slowly sipping on a warm beverage, but drinking certain types of herbal tea can also help to reduce anxiety and stress while promoting feelings of calmness and relaxation. Some teas that can relieve stress and anxiety include:

  • Chamomile
  • Green Tea
  • Hops
  • Lavender
  • Lemon Balm
  • Passionflower
  • Valerian

If you prefer a different herbal tea, just be sure to select one that is caffeine-free and substitute any artificial sweeteners or sugars for natural sources like agave or honey. Photo credit: Liudmila Chernetska. Check out our friends at the

Drawing of a piece of fruit with the words: mindful eating: notice, observe, feel, taste, enjoy.

#5 Eat Mindfully

When selecting a meal or snack, look for options made with real, whole-food ingredients like dried or fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, and high-quality fats like unsweetened shredded coconut flakes. By eating mindfully, you will feel good from the inside out.

Margaret Barrow, the Founder of It’s Nola, previously shared her thoughts on eating mindfully. “Eating whole foods helps to renew and heal the body, which is why I like to focus on consuming foods that help with cell rejuvenation. Did you know that alkaline foods help to repair the body? Some of our favorites include apples, berries, broccoli, and pomegranate. Even some seasonings like oregano possess the same abilities.” Photo credit:  celiaosk

A table full of omega 3 foods fruits and vegetables.

#6 Reach for Stress Relieving Foods

Some foods are natural stress-relievers so if you feel extra stress, choose options that have been known to help alleviate stress. These include foods high in Vitamin B (e.g. fortified cereals), foods high in omega-3 fatty acids (e.g. chia seeds and flax seeds), gut-healthy foods (e.g. Greek yogurt), magnesium-rich foods (e.g. avocados and bananas), and protein-rich foods (e.g. almonds and quinoa). For more examples of these foods, check out the Cleveland Clinic.

Managing Stress Through Nutrition

Daily food choices, meals, and snacks may seem infinitesimal when it comes to managing overall stress levels, but in all reality, managing stress through nutrition is possible if you know what to avoid and what to enjoy.

- Stay Healthy and Happy

Need some more recipe ideas to help manage stress? Check out @Mbveganvegetarianshare or view our CEO at @itsnolasnacks as she shares recipes via video each month on It’s Nola Reels. Do not worry, even if you are not vegan, you will still enjoy these dishes.

Tag us @itsnolasnacks so we can see all of your stress-busting recipes.

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