Finals are coming up, and if you’re like many college students, you stress eat during finals. Some students choose to eat very interesting foods when stressed.
“I grab a spoon and go straight for the peanut butter jar,” said Conner Nef, a sophomore studying exercise physiology. “Before I eat the spoonful I squirt honey into my mouth, and then shove in the peanut butter.”
Izzy Fairbank, a freshman majoring in general studies, shared that when she is stressed, she eats a whole cucumber.
Rachel Stratford, a freshman studying recreation management, shared that when stressed she eats anything and everything, but peanut butter the most.
“I eat crackers of any kind with either yogurt or ketchup,” said Natalie Robinson, a freshman studying history. “It’s not as bad tasting as it sounds.”
In an article on psychologytoday.com called Stress in College Students, scientists, psychologists and researchers studies show that college students are under a lot of stress. With attempting to work jobs while attending classes and trying to pass exams and finals, stress is bound to be evident.
Nick Stewart, a junior studying biochemistry, shared that when he is stressed, he goes to town on cookie dough.
“I always want a bucket of chocolate peanut butter ice cream,” said David Foster, a freshman studying architecture. “Half of the bucket is also filled with my tears.”
Jennifer Hartley, a freshman studying music education, said rather than studying, she would eat anything in her kitchen. She agreed this is her escapism behavior to avoid studying as long as possible.
According to a Harvard Mental Health letter from Harvard Medical School called Why stress causes people to overeat, “Stress also seems to affect food preferences. Numerous studies — granted, many of them in animals — have shown that physical or emotional distress increases the intake of food high in fat, sugar, or both.
“High cortisol levels, in combination with high insulin levels, may be responsible. Other research suggests that ghrelin, a hunger hormone, may have a role.
“Once ingested, fat- and sugar-filled foods seem to have a feedback effect that dampens stress–related responses and emotions. These foods really are “comfort” foods in that they seem to counteract stress — and this may contribute to people’s stress-induced craving for those foods.”
In the same letter, the researchers shared ways to relieve stress without overeating. They first shared the tip to clear the cupboards and refrigerator of those tempting fatty and sugary comfort foods. They also recommended meditating, exercising and turning to your friends and family for social support.
Even though it can be tempting to binge eat and snack when stressed during finals, it is encouraged to be conscious of what you are eating.
An article on bbcgoodfood.com titled Stress and Diet – can food help? by Jo Lewin shares nutrition tips to help with stress. The article recommends choosing whole natural foods, eat a balanced breakfast, prioritize protein, never skip meals, avoid highly refined foods, watch the caffeine and avoid emotional eating, and it will help students be more physically and emotionally ready for their exams.