If you haven’t yet eaten today, I suggest you skip over this article until you have as our discussion of comfort foods is bound to make your mouth water.
Comfort foods are meals that are uniquely nostalgic and sentimental to a person. As the name suggests, it provides a sense of comfort. Common American comfort foods include chicken pot pie, mac & cheese, chocolate, and chicken noodle soup.
Studies have shown that individuals are evidently happier upon consuming their favorite comfort foods. An article written for Bektrom Food Inc. entitled, “Why Comfort Food Makes You Happy,” explains, “dopamine is released when you eat foods that lead to a positive recollection of memories. Dopamine is released in the brain any time you experience a pleasure. So, when you eat foods that you associate with positive feelings, it makes you feel good.”
Typically, comfort foods are categorized as “unhealthy” or “guilty pleasures” since most contain a lot of carbs or sugar. Whether comfort foods are good for your physical health is for another debate; all I know is that comfort foods can help with your mental health.
However, I’m not saying that eating your favorite comfort foods will solve all your problems. But, as Snickers’ slogan goes, “you’re not you when you’re hungry.”
I think indulging in comfort food or guilty pleasure snacks every once in a while is perfectly okay, even if it isn’t technically considered “healthy.”
Justin Arp, a sophomore business student, said, “Whenever I am feeling low on energy, I like to go to an Italian deli and order a turkey and cheese sandwich with lettuce, oil, and vinegar on a round roll.”
I have a lot of comfort foods. My number one is Andy Capp Hot Fries. I know it may seem silly, but it’s a snack I always remember my dad buying for me when he stopped at the gas station. They have the perfect amount of spice and crunch. Some may consider this a hot-take, but I think they are way better than Hot Cheetos and Takis.
Comfort foods can also change based on the occasion. For example, I love a grilled cheese with warm tomato soup on a rainy day. In contrast, on hot summer days, I crave a 7/11 Coca-Cola Slushy (another gas station favorite).
So far, I have included mostly snack based comfort foods. Nonetheless, full meals also qualify.
Nikolas Akos, sophomore health studies student, shared his comfort meal, “I love the hamburgers my mom makes— they are a great source of protein and carbs, especially after the gym.”
Personally, baked chicken and mashed potatoes is my go-to comfort meal. It is my favorite home-cooked dish and reminds me of family dinners.
Some comfort foods combine items that should not go together, but weirdly do. A not-so-crazy example of this is frogs on a log, or celery sticks chopped up, lathered in peanut butter, and topped with raisins. Though I think this is slightly crazy, frogs on a log is a childhood snack that is nostalgic and comforting for a lot of people.
Another odd food combination that has recently gone viral is eating pickles with Takis. I never tried these two foods together, but from social media reviews, this seems to be a lot of people’s new go-to comfort snack.
Fast food can be a comfort food for some people as well. I do not like having fast food very often because it can be overwhelmingly greasy for my taste. However, on days when I am feeling extra lazy and a little down, I love Door dashing Taco Bell or McDonald’s to my dorm.
Kirsten Cluett, sophomore health studies student, shared her comfort order from Taco Bell, “One comfort food of mine is the cheese quesadilla from Taco Bell,” she said.
In my opinion, comfort foods can go beyond just food as I consider some drinks as comfort items. Sodas in particular are a guilty pleasure of mine. But even lemonade or orange juice brings back nostalgic feelings and memories of playing outside on summer days as a child.
Overall, comfort foods may not be something to consume every single day, but they are a great way to boost energy and generate a positive attitude.