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by Charles Coshow, SizzlingPots Contributor
July 15, 2017

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It seems like we spend all year waiting for our vacations. Then they’re gone in a blink, and you find yourself staring down the barrel of going back to work or school, wondering how it went by so fast.

It affects us all. The average American gets 1-2 weeks of vacation a year, which works out to only 2%-4% of our year. No wonder it goes by so fast!

We can’t stop time or the demands on our lives. But we can make the best of it, and that includes a satisfying meal to fight the end-of-vacation blues. Very often we’ll try to “self-medicate” our feelings with a pot of macaroni and cheese, or a big bowl of mashed potatoes and gravy. These traditional comfort foods are great at making us feel satisfied, but can actually give us a “food hangover” afterward, and make dealing with stress even more difficult.

So here’s a list of 10 great foods that will make your tummy happy, while giving you the nutritional resources you need to get back into the swing of things.

1. Salmon – rich, delicious, and healthy!

Packed with high-quality protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.

A lovely baked salmon fillet, served with couscous and vegetables, will make your stomach ecstatic while providing you with enough nutrition to blow away any obstacles you might face upon your return to the daily grind.

2. Ratatouille – the classic French country dish.

This satisfying vegetable stew is flavored with garlic, thyme, and basil. Full of the delicious, healthy vegetables we all should be eating more of, it’s like the best stew you’ve ever had, magically transformed into a hearty meal. Have it with pasta or simply in a bowl along with a slice of buttered French bread. To heck with the blues!

3. Corn-on-the-cob – golden ears of summer joy

One of the powers of comfort food is the connection between taste and memory. The right dish takes us back to good times with friends and family. Fat ears of corn, still steaming as we add butter and salt, are a reminder of backyard barbecues and Sunday dinners. And corn has antioxidants that protect your body!

4. Fried chicken – the ultimate comfort food!

Fried chicken satisfies us on a deep level. Chicken’s lean protein helps with long-term energy, and when properly fried the amount of fat is reasonable, in moderation. Make one last summer memory with a fried chicken dinner, served with greens and cornbread. Then dare the office to knock the smile off of your face.

5. Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad – a healthy taste of summer

What’s more comforting than a big bowl of pasta? But the carb crash afterward can be a killer. So mix that pasta with chicken, romaine lettuce, celery, cherry tomatoes, and pesto sauce to make a healthy meal that your tummy will thank you for.

6. Thai Coconut Curry Soup – uniquely satisfying

Known as Tom yum kung, this soup is traditionally made from shrimp, coconut milk, galangal, lemongrass, and vegetables. The combination of flavors and textures make this dish deeply satisfying. Make this healthy soup that will send your stomach to heaven.

7. Sweet potatoes – the healthy hunger buster

The health benefits of sweet potatoes are well-known, and they’re also rich and delicious. Bake one up and top it with goat cheese, ancho chili powder, and some lime juice. Antioxidants and a full belly – you’ll be ready for anything!

8. Roast pork – Admit it, your mouth is already watering

Many of us have happy memories of a pork roast, pork chops, or a pork loin at a family gathering. Choose the right cut and it’s one of the leanest meats, packed with iron and B vitamins, and has a delectable sweet-yet-savory flavor. Roast some pork along with new potatoes, leeks, and carrots to end your vacation with a bang.

9. Mixed berry parfait – an antioxidant-packed dessert

Why should the mains have all the fun? With fresh berries at their peak, treat yourself to an easy-to-make berry parfait. Berries have antioxidants and fiber, and a glass layered with greek yogurt and fresh berries will satisfy your sweet tooth and arm you for your return to the real world.

10. Peach cobbler – a classic summer dessert

A crowd-pleaser and a cinch to make. Peaches are loaded with calcium, potassium, zinc, and dietary fiber. It’s an iconic summer dessert that you can enjoy with some vanilla ice cream, saying goodbye to vacation while leaving a smile on your face.

Just as surely as summer comes, summer ends. Vacations come and go. But don’t let the good times be ruined at the end. Any of these delicious treats will make your stomach so happy, while also supplying your body with nutrition and energy. So treat yourself!

Beat the blues with an amazing meal, knowing that you’re also powering up to face tomorrow. Whether it’s work or school, you’ll take it on with your head held high. You’ve got this!

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