SARASOTA – It’s easy to turn to food after a stressful workday or a loved one passing, but experts say comfort and stress eating can quickly become a habit.

What do you reach for after a stressful day? Beer, chips? We all do it.

In fact, human nature says we rarely eat based on hunger. “We eat because we’re in a social atmosphere, there’s music playing,” says Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Bonni London.

London says even positive feelings lead to emotional eating. “Birthday parties, vacation, to you know a house remodel, stressful work, so anything can cause people to go off kilter,” London explains.

Whether you’re happy or stressed, comforting your body with unhealthy food will only make you eat more and make your stress worse.

“It’s only going to exasperate the situation by increasing inflammation,” says London. “We know that these foods also change the microbes in our gut, which we are understanding more and more, also affect our mental status.”

London says getting ahead of the game starts in the morning. “A great balanced breakfast with high quality protein, I love like a vegetable omelet for example,” says London. “Also something really important is hydration.”

So keep healthy food on hand and have a plan. “When they get home and they don’t have anything prepared and things aren’t around, that’s when bad things happen,” warn London.

Try to get a good night’s sleep, take the stress out at the gym, and reach for green food and fish for a mood booster. “Not the mac and cheese,” says London.

For more tips you can visit London’s website.