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De-Stressing in a Healthy Way

One of the Natural Grocers’ top 10 nutrition trends for 2021 includes de-Stressing in a Healthy Way (Without the Alcohol and Comfort-Food Eating).

We would probably all agree that 2020 was a very stressful year in so many ways. An overwhelming amount of stress can lead to unhealthy eating and using food and alcohol in search of comfort. We all know that in the long-run, food doesn’t actually reduce stress. In fact, it only provides a temporary Band-Aid.

Go with the trend: make 2021 your year to de-stress in a healthy way. First, practice self-care with a daily self-reflection: schedule in a few minutes each day to reflect and identify important questions for yourself; this could be in the form of journaling, talking to a friend, taking a long walk, etc. Be kind to yourself – answer these questions in a non-judgmental way.

Second, give your body the foods and nutrients to support your ability to better cope with stress. These include magnesium (pumpkin seeds, almonds, spinach, cashews, pumpkin seeds and beans), Omega-3 rich foods (salmon, sardines, anchovies, mackerel, tuna, flounder), B vitamins (whole grains, eggs, beans, avocado, citrus fruit), vitamin C (oranges, guava, kiwi, bell peppers, strawberries, broccoli), phosphatidylserine (soy, white beans, egg yolks) and curcumin (turmeric).

Try this trend to de-stress today and every day: Call a loved one, wear a mask, eat nutritious foods, give a stranger a genuine compliment. It’s important to practice self-care as well as compassion and empathy for others this year. Make this the year to de-stress.

~Michele Lubin, MS, RDN

Hearty winter foods:  Eat more pears and whole grains

Facts about pears:

  • Pears are one of the oldest fruits in the world
  • Early colonists brought pears to the United States in the 1700’s
  • 97% of U.S. pears are grown in Washington, Oregon and California
  • Pears come in at least 6 varieties, can be green, yellow or red and are the second most popular fruit in the U.S.
  • Pears are high in fiber, potassium and vitamin C

Try a new whole grain: Bulgur: this is a wheat based grain and is low in fat, high in minerals like manganese, magnesium and iron; and it’s a good source of plant-based protein. Bulgur also provides a good dose of dietary fiber.

Pear, Kale, Chicken and Bulgur Bowl

Serves 4 (serving size: about 1 1/2 cups bulgur and 1 1/2 teaspoons sunflower seeds)


Presoaked Bulgur:

  • 1 cup uncooked bulgur
  • 1 ½ cups 1% low-fat milk


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 cups thinly sliced stemmed kale
  • 1 cup shredded skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • ½ cup chopped, fresh, ripe, firm pear (any variety)
  • 1 ½ ounces shredded Manchego cheese (about 1/3 cup)
  • 3 cups presoaked bulgur
  • 2 tablespoons roasted, salted sunflower seeds


  •  Prepare Presoaked Bulgur: Combine uncooked bulgur and 1% low-fat milk in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Fluff grains.
  • Prepare Topping: Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add kale, chicken, pear, and cheese; toss. Stir in presoaked bulgur. Divide bulgur mixture evenly among 4 bowls; sprinkle evenly with sunflower seeds.

Nutrition Facts per Serving:

388 calories; fat 15.7g; saturated fat 4.8g; mono fat 6.2g; poly fat 2.7g; protein 24g; carbohydrates 42g; fiber 9g; cholesterol 49mg; iron 2mg sodium 426mg; calcium 365mg; sugars 7g; added sugar 0g.

Our Surgical Weight Loss Program and Bariatric Surgery Center's mission is to deliver safe and effective surgical solutions with a compassionate touch. Our bariatric program is operated by NYU Langone Long Island Surgical Associates, P.C., a network of leading physicians and surgeons that provide comprehensive care for patients.

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