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Three simple recipes for reducing stress

Three simple recipes for reducing stress

The foods we eat play a significant role in how our bodies respond to stress. Adding a few essential nutrients to our meals can improve our body's ability to cope with stress while supporting overall health. Complex carbohydrates, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins C and B, magnesium, and tryptophan are vital nutrients proven to help control stress symptoms while promoting balance. Here are three simple recipes packed full of these nutrients to help inspire your next meal.

 

Breakfast: Avocado Toast

Breakfast is a chance to check in with yourself and set your intentions for the day ahead. I try to always eat breakfast in a relaxed environment with plenty of fresh air. Savoring each bite and sipping my coffee at a slower pace gives me a chance to enjoy the flavors and textures of my food while also supporting digestion. 

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 2 pieces of whole grain bread
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp pumpkin seeds
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1-2 soft boiled eggs (optional)

 

Directions

  1. Mash ripe avocado onto toasted bread, and season with salt, pepper, and seeds.
  2. Add cooked and shelled egg(s).
  3. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and fresh lemon juice.
  4. If available, garnish with fresh herbs and seasonal greens.

 

Cooking tip: for the perfect soft boiled egg, add fresh egg(s) to pre-boiled water and cook for 6 1/2 - 7 minutes. Immediately remove the egg and submerge into chilled water for a few minutes. This step will help make it easier to remove the shell before serving.

 

 

Lunch: Mediterranean White Bean Salad

Use this time to disconnect from the distractions of the day. Lunch is the perfect opportunity to let your mind wander in a direction other than your present stressors. 

This recipe reminds me of hot summer Christmas' in Australia at my grandmother's house, where she would prepare authentic Lebanese cuisine for the whole family using fresh herbs and citrus from her garden. This refreshingly fragrant, high protein salad inspired by the bright flavors of my grandmother's tabouleh is one of my favorite easy meals to throw together whenever I'm feeling stressed and overwhelmed. This salad stores well and tastes even better then next day.

Serves 1 - 2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked and chilled white beans (or 1/2 15 oz can drained and rinsed)
  • 1 cup baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (leaves and stems)
  • 1 scallion, finely sliced (green parts only)
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped into quarters or halves
  • 1 small cucumber, diced
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium lemon
  • Salt and ground black pepper

 

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl. 
  2. Dress with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.
  3. Gently toss all ingredients together.
  4. Transfer ingredients to a serving bowl.
  5. Garnish with fresh lemon zest.

Tip: Depending on my appetite, I love topping my lunchtime bowls with other nutrient dense ingredients like avocado, feta, free-range eggs, or grilled chicken. 

 

Dinner: Grilled Salmon and Avocado with Rice

Dinner is a time for sharing a meal with a loved one, which is why I've made this recipe for two. 

In our household, food signifies a chance to reconnect and share a present moment in time. My husband and I try our best to set aside devices every night for an hour. Eating in an undistracted and calm environment keeps us grounded in the present moment. Adding a healthy habit to a common daily practice (like eating dinner) is a small way that we have been able to incorporate and sustain a mindful habit during our busy day. 

Serves 2

Ingredients 

  • 10 - 12 ounce salmon fillet
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ripe yet firm avocado, quartered
  • 1 medium-large lemon, cut in half
  • 2 generous handfuls spinach and arugula, mixed
  • 1 generous handful of lightly blanched asparagus spears and french beans, sliced into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice or quinoa
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • Garnish: fresh herbs (like parsley or dill) and toasted or raw seeds (pumpkin and sunflower seeds)

 

Directions

  1. Heat grill pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Brush salmon fillet with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the salmon and avocado quarters to the hot grill.
  4. Cook for 3 minutes on the first side. Flip over and add the lemon halves to the grill pan.
  5. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes until the salmon is cooked perfectly, and the avocado and lemon show grill marks.
  6. Add the mixed greens, asparagus, beans, and grains to a mixing bowl and squeeze the grilled lemon over the top.
  7. Gently toss with the remaining olive oil.
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
  9. Transfer ingredients to a serving platter.
  10. Gently flake the salmon and serve with the avocado over the greens.
  11. Garnish with herbs and seeds.

 

Bon Appétit!

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