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8 Foods You Should Be Eating When You Are Stressed

12/03/2015 04:15 EST | Updated 12/03/2015 04:59 EST

There's no denying that a warm, gooey mac and cheese can provide comfort when you're sad or stressed, but if you're watching your weight, you might also want to watch that calorie intake.

"Since stress throws us off-balance, it makes sense that we start to crave certain foods," says Ottawa-based registered nutritional therapist Andrea Bartels.

"Afterwards, we tend to feel guilty, ashamed, and physically tired," she says.

The foods Bartels is referring to are comfort food classics like baked goods, chips and creamy dips and spreads, foods we know are loaded with fat, sugar and sodium, but of course, we love anyway.

"Often the cycle perpetuates because the foods we use to comfort ourselves during stress have short-lived perceived benefits, like an energy boost. Ultimately it can lead to weight gain and its associated health problems due to the bad food choices we habitually make under stress," she says.

If you're a self-proclaimed stress eater, check out the slideshow below, in which Bartels provides eight healthy alternatives to classic comfort foods. What's your go-to comfort food? Let us know in the comments below.

Comfort Foods And Healthy Alternatives