Health & Wellness

Muffin top-melting recipes: Joy Bauer's fiery popcorn, chocolate pudding, more

During our "6 Months to a 6-Pack Challenge," TODAY nutritionist Joy Bauer shared ab-friendly lunch sandwichesdinner optionsguilt-free comfort foods and now stress eating solutions. 

Are you feeling stressed? Don't grab the chips! Instead, identify which type of emotional eating category you fall into, and try some of Joy's sweet and savory solutions.  

Trance/volume eating
You zone out and munch away while multitasking. You can chomp your way through a whole bag of chips while watching TV, or make your way through a bag of chocolates while working at the computer.

The solution? Go for items that are low-calorie, but high in volume. Here are some snacks that are under 200 calories and pack a lot of bites: 

Fiery popcorn
Air-pop a large batch of popcorn and sprinkle with hot sauce, Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, hot chili powder or whatever kicks up the heat. Not only do you get a huge batch, but because you’re adding spice, it’ll make you pay attention to what you’re eating instead of munching away mindlessly. 

At 35 calories per cup, you can have over 5 cups of popcorn for under 200 calories!


Salsamole with veggies
Mix 1/4 cup guacamole with 1/4 cup chunky tomato salsa to cut calories. 

Serve with loads of non-starchy veggies for dipping, such as cucumber slices, bell pepper sticks, baby carrots, celery sticks, grape tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower or sugar snap peas.

The salsa–guac combo is just 100 calories for a 1/2 cup.

Comfort food feast
This is when you get a hankering for something sweet or savory — something that takes you back to a good memory and satisfies that “gotta have it” feeling. 

The solution? Whether it’s a frozen treat, or a salty crunch, the key is to keep a lid on the portion. And whenever you can, try to get a dose of nutrition along with your fix. 


My PB-banana freeze pop fits the bill. Keep it sliced and stocked in the freezer for whenever a craving hits. 

Emotional pity party
You eat when you're feeling sad and sorry for yourself. The solution? Pick a satisfying treat that has mood lifting properties.  

Try this tasty chocolate protein pudding. It packs a punch of protein from the yogurt to help even out blood sugar and reduce mood swings. Plus, if it’s “that time of the month,” the calcium helps combat PMS symptoms. 


For more belly-slimming tips and recipes visit and follow Joy on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.