Comfort Food Alternatives for Your Next Self-care Routine - Nak Makan Apa?

Comfort Food Alternatives for Your Next Self-care Routine

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Nak Makan Apa|Mac 22, 2021 Decorative Image

We all go through long weeks and unbearable days feeling a bit burnt out over office deadlines, house chores, and the pile of appointments scheduled. At times, these lead to unwanted stress that affects us physically, mentally, and emotionally. One way to avoid stress is by managing time efficiently. Plan ahead, prioritise, and avoid procrastinating. While you’re at it, remember to include a little self-care and what better way to do that than to enjoy some good ol’ comfort food.

What is Comfort Food?

Comfort food favourite food
Comfort food is most likely your favourite food too!

If you’re used to the term, the first thing that comes to mind would probably be your usual pizza, burger, and fries. If local dishes are your favourite, this might be your Nasi Lemak, Nasi Goreng Kampung, Karipap, or Kuihs. However, comfort food need not be greasy, salty, sweet, or sinful. In essence, they should be foods that make you feel good. Foods that give you sufficient energy to activate your happy hormones and perhaps bring about warm nostalgic memories. The key to choosing the right comfort food is to remember that you’re simply rewarding yourself for the hard work you’ve done so far and not to eat emotionally just because you are stressed or upset. Part of practising self-care is to prevent feeling burnt out by putting yourself first, learning how to love yourself in the process. One way to do that is finding comfort in the food we love.

Choosing the Right Comfort Food

Salad Ayam Kacang Gajus Halia
Different ways of cooking can affect how good or bad comfort food is.

When enjoying comfort foods, it’s always good to remember to make healthier choices and eat in moderation. Yes, the whole idea here is to indulge yourself, but overeating can make you feel worse instead of feeling better. So why not enjoy a day of comfort food at every mealtime instead of binging on it in one go? Besides that, cooking your own dishes always gives better control over what goes inside your food. Eat to your heart’s content when you cook or bake something with less salt, less sugar, and no preservatives.


Choose baked dishes over fried ones. If your comfort food is Ayam Goreng Berempah switch to Ayam Panggang instead. Always remember to complement your dishes with a handful of vegetables to maintain a balanced diet. If you are more of a sweet tooth, look out for things with less sugar and fat. Instead of ice cream, try frozen yoghurt or thick fruit smoothies instead—exchange milk chocolate for dark chocolate. Fruits themselves can be an exciting dessert if you get creative. Dip them in chocolate or nut butter,  or bake a steamed fruit cake or a banana cake. If pizzas and pies are your guilty pleasure, go gluten-free! If you’re looking to kick back and relax, most of these food options are also available in eateries today. Have a fuss-free time during your self-care session, and enjoy what’s best for you.


Include Comfort Drinks

A cup of lemon green tea with honey on a table
Green teas can really help improve brain functions and mood lifts.

Now, enough about food, what’s good and comforting to quench the thirst? Sipping teas have always been associated with providing comfort and healing. Green teas especially can be beneficial to reduce stress and anxiety. A compound in green tea called L-Theanine helps to elevate serotonin and dopamine levels in your body, making your feel good in general. Besides that, green teas can also help uplift your mood, boost your memory, and improve concentration. So, if you need a quick fix or impromptu self-care during work, make sure you have some green tea leaves or tea bags with you.


If you’re planning to wind down for the day by making yourself a pot at home, shake things up a little by adding some beneficial ingredients to your green tea. Instead of adding sugar, add honey. Both green teas and honey are packed with antioxidants which are good to keep your skin looking youthful and healthy. Try making a Honey Calamansi Green Tea or a Honey Cinnamon Green Tea. Both calamansi and cinnamon also have good properties that aid stress relief, immunity, and digestion.


Have fun planning your self-care routine, and make sure to incorporate comfort foods that will not only make you feel happy but also keep you going. Take care of yourself today.

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