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Are millennials eating their feelings? Stress eating numbers on the rise

DeWitt says, “Millennials are really busy. They’re going to school, they’re working… and to sustain that busy lifestyle with enough energy, it’...

Thirty-eight percent of adults say they have overeaten or eaten unhealthy foods in the past month because of stress. And half of these adults (49 percent) say they stress eat at least every week, according to a study done by the American Psychological Association.

We often associate stress eating with older adults. But, did you know that millennials are actually more likely than other generations to turn to food during times of stress— 50 percent say they have done so in the past month, compared to 36 percent of Gen Xers, 36 percent of Boomers and 19 percent of Matures.

Today, I met up with Bekah DeWitt, a Dietician and Nutritionist from Nutrition, LLC in Huntsville. She told me that it’s not uncommon for there to be a link between your mood, lifestyle, and eating habits. 

DeWitt says, “A lot of times it’s just habit. Especially if you’re stressed, you don’t have time to prepare meals. If you don’t have time to prepare meals, you go to a fast food restaurant.”

She says that stress eating can actually turn into a dangerous habit, and could leave lasting effects. “When you eat things for comfort, a lot of times it does make you feel good for a short amount of time . But, then there are long term effects… you can gain weight for feel sluggish. It doesn’t have a sustainable energy,” adds DeWitt. 

So, why do millennials, the youngest adults, have the highest tendency to overeat? 

DeWitt has gave us her opinion. She says, “Millennials are really busy. They’re going to school, they’re working… and to sustain that busy lifestyle with enough energy, it’s important to have a balanced diet because that’s where you get that energy from.”

But DeWitt says, preparation can really help curb the negative impact of turning to food when under stress. Try meal prepping, or bringing a few snacks to work. It’ll help combat that workplace stress. 

Next time you find yourself struggling to overcome a hectic day, try reaching for some stress-busting foods like blueberries, pistachios, yogurt, avocado snacks, or even some dark chocolate. 

Studies show that the antioxidants in cocoa actually trigger the walls of your blood vessels to relax, lowering blood pressure and improving circulation.