The Emotional Connection to Comfort Foods (And How to Harness It)

We all know that comfort foods make us feel good, but what’s the science behind it? And how can we use that knowledge to our advantage?

We’ve all heard about comfort foods, but comfort foods are different for different people because they are attached to a happy time or event from the past. Subconsciously, when we are feeling sad or stressed, we’ll crave the food that we connect with feeling happy. Sometimes we just connect food in general with happiness.

Ellen, a client of mine, said this to me once: “Dinner was the only time for our family to be together. All day we were busy, and every night we rejoiced with food. With each mouthful and each chew, I was enjoying my family time. I wanted it to last forever.”

For Ellen, and many others, emotions and food are closely linked. When we’re feeling happy, we often crave the foods that we associate with happiness. But what happens when we’re feeling emotions like sadness or stress?

The important thing is that we are aware that indulging in unhealthy foods is not the greatest idea and can hurt us in the long run.

It’s no secret that comfort foods are a thing. Everyone has their own comfort food that they turn to when they’re feeling down whether it’s a particular dish that reminds them of a happy time or just something that they associate with feeling good. And while comfort foods may not be the healthiest choice, there’s no denying that they can have a real impact on our emotions. After all, comfort foods are called comfort foods for a reason – because they make us feel comforted!

What are comfort foods? For some people, it may be a warm bowl of chicken soup or their mother’s apple pie. For others, it might be a greasy slice of pepperoni pizza or a big bowl of Rocky Road ice cream. As I mentioned earlier, comfort foods are different for everyone because they are attached to a particularly happy time or event from the past. Subconsciously, when we are feeling sad or stressed, we’ll crave the food that we connect with feeling happy. After all, who doesn’t love a good meal? Comfort foods can have a positive effect on our emotions and wellbeing.

So, how to deal with emotional eating? Identify and check in with your emotions and ask yourself if what you are about to eat is purely to make you feel better? If the answer is “yes”, step back, drink a glass of water and wait until the craving passes. This simple trick will do the job. If, after doing this, you’re still craving, go for a quick walk.

To those who cook comfort foods, however, be mindful that there are ways to make your comfort meals healthier. Just be creative. After all, it’s your health and the health of your loved ones we are talking about.

Watch the short video here.

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