Last week, Jennifer Aniston made headlines after dropping her ultimate stress food in this InStyle interview. The rich, indulgent, satisfying food in question? A single potato chip. Sometimes supplemented with one M&M, depending on the stressful situation at hand. The interview went thusly:
InStyle: What do you eat if you’re stressed?
Jennifer Aniston: A chip. Crunch, crunch, crunch.
InStyle: Just one chip?
J.A.: Usually. I’m good at that. I can have one M&M, one chip. I know, that’s so annoying.
InStyle: Can you feel my contempt ooze through the screen?
This revelation led me to think about my own stress-eating ethos. As I slink toward my thirties, I’ve worked to abolish the internalized anti-snack messages I picked up from years of reading fitness magazines. You know the ones; they tout “guilt-free” foods and seem to remind readers that stress-snacking is for weaklings. At this point in my life, I know these messages are ridiculous. There are no “guilty” or “bad” foods; there are only foods that will make your body feel good, foods that will make your body feel bad, and foods in between. If you’re stressed and want to eat something that’ll almost certainly give you diarrhea, that is your right.
Personally, my stress levels have been at an all-time high during the last few months—bad times, friends, bad times—and I’ve reached for soothing snacks more than a few times. My go-to: Sour Patch Kids and a large vat of homemade buttered noodles, either linguine or orzo. I top the pasta with my favorite mysterious Greek seasoning and eat it on the couch in my sworts (sweatpants cut into shorts = sworts) while staring wide-eyed at the wall. Are these objectively healthy foods? No; the Sour Patch Kids tend to give me canker sores, and the buttery noodles make me very sleepy. But do I feel guilty about enjoying these foods when I’ve had a shitty week? No, because they’re not bad foods, and I don’t think humans should feel bad for eating foods that taste good.
How about you? What do you eat when you’re stressed? Do you reach for one or more chips, or do you go for the sweet stuff? (Quick disclaimer: if you’re gearing up to spam the comment section in favor of antiquated food guilt, I’m not in the mood. Go eat a chip.)