Health People, Healthy North
Stress Eater? Tackle Your Emotional Eating this Nutrition Month!

By Lori Ozol, RD – Public Health Dietitian for the Northern Health Region

Does a sweet treat like a bowl of ice cream make you feel better after a bad day?  Do you find yourself filling up on chips or sweets when you need comfort?  Sometimes we get into the habit of using foods to cope with negative emotions instead of what food is really there for – fuel!  You’re not alone – emotional eating is common, but getting to the bottom of these habits and learning new ways to cope with stress can help make your healthy goals a reality!

Spot the Problem:  Do you find yourself eating for comfort when things get stressful at work or frustrating at home?

Get the Facts:  Turning to food and snacking excessively during stressful times is called ‘emotional eating.’  Recognizing your patterns and feelings around eating is an important first step.  Do you find yourself: 

  • Craving foods high in calories, sugar, fat, or salt (chocolate, chips, etc)?
  • Eating too much without realizing it?
  • Feeling ‘bad’ or more stress and anxiety after eating too much?

Trying practices such as Mindful Eating can be a great way to tackle this problem and still allow you to have treats from time to time, but in more reasonable amounts.  Mindful Eating means paying attention to all your senses (grounding) – really seeing, smelling, feeling, and tasting the food you are eating.  Instead of eating a whole bag of chips or 20 timbits, you can learn to really enjoy smaller amounts of these treats, or choose a healthier snack if you are truly hungry and in need of fuel.

Learning to eat mindfully can help you learn WHY you eat the foods you do, how to eat only when you are truly hungry and how to stop when you are satisfied!

Seek Support:  Having a coach to help you learn this practice and explore your feelings is important, and a Dietitian can do just that!  Individual counselling or group sessions can help teach you how to be mindful and treat yourself in a way that promotes your physical and emotional health.

You can set up an appointment with a Dietitian here in the Northern Health Region for FREE!  We would be happy to sit down with you and answer your questions.

Looking for an alternative, healthy AND comforting recipe?  Try this great Hungry Kids Sundae recipe (as seen at the in-store demos at Thompson Family Foods and Safeway)!

Hungry Kids Sundae

Makes:  4 Servings  Preparation Time: 10 minutes


Apple, chopped - ½ apple

Ground cinnamon - 1 ml (¼ tsp)

Banana, chopped - ½ banana

Small red or green grapes - 125 ml (½  cup)

Raisins or dried cranberries - 50 ml (¼  cup)

Vanilla yogurt - 125 ml (½ cup)

Low fat granola - 75 ml (1/3 cup)

Graham cracker, crushed - 1 cracker


  1. In a bowl, combine apple and cinnamon to coat
  2. Add banana, grapes and raisins
  3. Pour yogurt over fruit and sprinkle with granola
  4. Top with graham cracker and serve!

Have a smartphone?  Find more great recipes using the Dietitians of Canada Cookspiration app!  Check out for more!

Want to talk to a Registered Dietitian in your area?  Contact one and set up a meeting, for FREE!

In Thompson:

The Thompson Clinic, call (204)677-1777

Diabetes Program in Thompson, call (204)677-5333

In the Pas:

The Pas Primary Health Care Centre, call: (204)623-9650

In Flin Flon:

Flin Flon Primary Health Care Centre, call: (204)687-1350

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