Comfort food is good for the soul

(Alissa Salem/Staff Illustrator)


Special to the Leader


According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, comfort food is defined as, “a food that provides a person sentimental or nostalgic value, and is high in calories or carbs.”

Think back to the days of being sick as a child, when your mom would make her famous chicken noodle soup. These foods provoke instant flashbacks to childhood and warm feelings. This is due to associating the food with being taken care of, which makes the food seem to taste better.

Here at Fredonia, students gave their own ideas of what the best comfort foods for them would be.

Alex Buchner, senior psychology major, said that her favorite comfort food would have to be mac and cheese (a classic that will never go out of style). She even has a favorite place to eat it here in Fredonia.

“The Tim Hortons on campus has the best macaroni and cheese,” she said.

Tianna Laird, junior psychology major, has a different favorite: chicken wings.

“They are the best in this area,” she said.

In Fredonia, places such as Wing City Grille might be the best option for wanting a taste of home while away at school. We live close to Buffalo for a reason.

Some students opted for many different foods, such as junior education major Elizabeth Rich. Rich reaches for fast food when she is looking for comfort.

“Who wouldn’t want a double cheeseburger and large fry to drown their sorrows into after a bad day?” she asked. McDonald’s and Burger King are both perfect options for wanting a greasy food fix after a bad day — calories and all. Senior education major Deanna Klusek mentioned a favorite that will make everyone hungry: chicken alfredo.

“Alfredo reminds me of my grandma’s cooking as a child, so it brings back good memories,” she said.

Klusek chose this food because it reminds her of home, which is why many people choose comfort foods. Dorm food will never compare to mom or grandma’s cooking. This is nostalgia at its finest.

All of the comfort foods Fredonia students chose have one thing in common: they make them feel good for a reason, whether it be because of childhood memories, popular restaurants or even the geographic location we live in.

Here in Western New York, we may choose to comfort ourselves with wings whereas down south, grits might be a popular option.

Comfort food has been proven to improve anxiety, depression and mental clarity. Comfort foods also boost well-being and decrease loneliness. Eating food with large amounts of carbs and fats has been proven to boost your mood and literally comfort your brain.

The moral of the story here is that eating a plate full of calories before an exam might be helpful, even if it doesn’t seem socially acceptable.

Sometimes we need comfort food for bad days, but also for mental health days. Unfortunately, as college students, we aren’t robots and we need to take a mental health day every once in awhile to keep our lives on track.

Between studying for exams, putting off those papers until the last minute and being involved in campus activities, it’s easy to get burned out. Along with days starting to get colder and shorter, those fall blues might be starting to take over. A mental health day might consist of staying home on a Wednesday and binge watching “Grey’s Anatomy,” or it might consist of a day trip with friends to get away from the pressures of school.

Whichever way it is defined, mental health days always require large amounts of carbs. Foods such as macaroni and cheese, chicken wings, McDonald’s and chicken alfredo are only some examples of what students at Fredonia choose to indulge in without guilt.

We’re college students after all. We deserve it.

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