by Diana Kelly for SHAPE.com
Nosh on one of these foods before a big date, and you'll be energized, confident, and anxiety-free!You want to look as fabulous as possible for every date, even if it's with your husband and especially on a first date. And all that time you focus on putting together the right outfit, doing your hair and makeup, and calling your friends for a second (or third…or fourth) opinion could leave you with little time to think about what you're eating.
Instead of reaching for anything-or worse, nothing-snack on foods that will help you shine tonight by flattening your stomach, boosting your energy, and eliminating every bit of anxiety. Go get him, girl.
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1. Dark chocolate: While regular consumption of dark chocolate can reduce levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) and catecholamines (amino acids that trigger the "fight-or-flight" reaction), having a treat also immediately slashes anxiety, according to a study in the journal Nutrients. Chocolate may increase serotonin, the feel-happy neurotransmitter in the brain, says Kristin Kirkpatrick, R.D., wellness manager at the Cleveland Clinic, which is probably why you experience that calm, satisfied feeling. Choose a bar that's at least 70 percent cacao, and since just 1 ounce is 170 calories, be mindful of your portion size.
2. Coconut water: If you're slightly dehydrated from a long day of work or your pre-date workout, your energy levels might be sinking. Reach for coconut water, which hydrates in a way plain H2O can't thanks to its electrolytes. This combined with the simple, naturally occurring sugars will help revive your moxie, says Erin Palinski-Wade, R.D., author of the Belly Fat Diet For Dummies.
3. Hummus and celery: Celery is a natural diuretic (hello, flat belly) that's low in calories with lots of fiber that will help keep you full going into a date, Palinski-Wade says. Pair three large sticks with 2 tablespoons of hummus, which contains good-for-you monounsaturated fats that can help stabilize blood sugar to prevent unstable emotions.
4. Turkey slices: This low-carb, high-protein snack may help you with pre-date jitters. Turkey is rich in L-tryptophan, an amino acid that triggers the release of serotonin, resulting in a relaxing effect. Palinski-Wade recommends 3 to 4 ounces.
5. Pumpkin seeds: Feeling lethargic on a near-daily basis could be an indicator that you're not getting enough magnesium in your diet. Magnesium is involved in breaking down glucose into energy, so being even slightly low in this mineral can cause a dip in your pep, Palinski-Wade says. One ounce (about 1/4 cup) of pumpkin seeds contains half of your daily recommended magnesium, so have a handful a few hours before your date to naturally boost your get-up-and-go.
6. Cinnamon almonds: With 163 calories, 6 grams of protein, and 3.5 grams of fiber per ounce, almonds are a great snack to hold you over until you meet for dinner. Put your nuts in a ziptop bag, sprinkle in 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, close it up, and shake. Research has shown adding this much cinnamon to meals can help regulate blood sugar levels within 15 to 90 minutes, and that may help keep moodiness at bay.
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7. Green tea: Sip a cuppa green at least 30 minutes before your date for a natural energy boost. Eight ounces contains 24 to 40 milligrams of caffeine, which could make you feel more alert for the next two to three hours, Palinski-Wade says. Bonus: One study found that green tea consumption can help keep breath fresh for up to two hours-it's even more effective than toothpaste, mints, and chewing gum in deodorizing and disinfecting your mouth.
8. Honey toast: "Having a small, all-carb snack midday will help to boost feel-good serotonin levels," says Elizabeth Somer, R.D., author of Eat Your Way To Happiness. To stay chill about meeting your hot guy, she recommends a banana with either half a whole-grain English muffin with honey or half a small cinnamon raisin bagel with jam.
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by Diana Kelly for SHAPE.com