It's that time again...finals. We all know what that means: lots of coffee, fighting for a seat in the library, and tons of unnecessary stress eating. It's almost like you have to eat an additional pound of snacks for every final you have.

Don't feel bad though; stress eating is totally not your fault and it's just a natural response to the stress you are feeling! 

What Exactly Is Stress Eating? 

Basically, stress eating is a form of emotional eating that causes us to overeat when we are under pressure. 

It's Really Not My Fault?

Yup, totally not your fault that you want to eat 5 different kinds of popcorn. In fact, it's a natural response. See, when we get hungry, we crave calories and our body associates calories with sweet and salty tastes. So, you get your favorite salty flavors from your chips, pizzas and cheesesteaks. 

So what actually promotes stress eating? Well, when you get hungry, the adrenal glands give off a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is *the* stress hormone and it affects a lot of things in your body, such as glucose levels, carbohydrate metabolism, and even some heart functions. 

Cortisol is also released in response to hunger. But because the same hormone is released in situations of hunger and stress, we're unable to differentiate between the two scenarios. So now that we're hungry, we're craving all the calories that we get from sweet and sour foods. See, totally not your fault!

Well Now What Do I Do?

If that didn't help you feel better about your stress eating, maybe this will. For all your sweet and salty cravings, there are plenty of healthy alternatives to satisfy your cortisol and help you stay focused to pass your finals.

If you're craving chips, try one of these recipes! 

If you're craving ice cream, here are some healthier sweet treats for you.

Drink plenty of water, and stay calm. You got this. You made it through 2016, you can make it through finals week!