Seeking Comfort in Food Without Wrecking your Health

How to enjoy the nostalgic nurture of comfort food and still eat healthy

Marilyn Tam
6 min readDec 20, 2020


Comfort food that’s good for you. Butternut squash and Swiss chard black bean pasta. Delicious, nutrtious and it’s easy to make!

It’s been a tough year. Many of us turn to food to soothe our spirits especially during this holiday season. Specifically, calorie laden, fat, sugar, salt and carbo heavy foods. These gut bombs give us momentary solace and then upset our stomachs, pack on the pounds and generally makes us sorry we ate them later.

It’s natural to search for relief from stress in small and big ways. How do we ease the tension and anxiety without making ourselves feel worse? Food seems to be a natural. And it can be if we adjust our behavior and the ingredients in our comfort foods, giving our physical, sentimental and emotional selves, relief while nurturing our bodies with nutrients. It’s doable when you keep a few points in mind.

1. Pause before you reach.

Impulse buying and eating of fast foods, takeaways, salted and high fat/sugar snacks and heavy use of ready-made sauces and mixes in cooking is closely correlated to when a person is stressed, feeling pressured and/or hungry. The National Institute of Health has shown that we do not make the best decisions when we are preoccupied, tense or famished. Recognizing this, pause what you are doing when you sense rising anxiety, frustration or hunger. Take the time to do what you need to destress, breathe deeply, center yourself, and/or find some nourishing snacks (nuts, a smoothie, fruit, cut up vegetables, hummus etc.) to replenish yourself before the urge to grab the unhealthy food takes over.

Sharing food and ideas of what’s delcious and nutritious helps you support each other.

2. Make friends with your food.

When we eat mindlessly, we tend to overeat and also not really taste what we are eating. Savor your food as you would a friend or something precious. How shiny is that apple, how well-made is your sandwich, and colorful is the salad? What about the texture when you bite into it? The taste and mouth feel? When you eat consciously you enjoy what you are eating, and your body has a chance to register nourishment is entering your system. You will feel satiated sooner and will…



Marilyn Tam

Marilyn Tam, global speaker, best selling author (The Happiness Choice), business leader and humanitarian. Formerly the CEO of Aveda, President Reebok, VP Nike