We all have our comfort foods like mashed potatoes, Sloppy Joes, and macaroni and cheese just to name a few favorites. Contrary to popular belief, we generally seek out these "comfort foods" when we are already comfortable. A recent study conducted by the Cornell Food and Brand Lab revealed that people were more likely to seek out comfort foods when they were in upbeat moods - 86% associated comfort food with happiness and 74% used comfort foods to reward themselves. In contrast, 39% of the subjects sought out comfort foods when they were depressed and/or lonely.
Comfort foods help us maintain positive feelings or soothe us. When we're in a bad mood, dishes like macaroni and cheese give a quick bump of euphoria since all those carbs help make serotonin the "happy brain chemical."
Many diets fail because dieters think they need to completely swear off their favorite comfort food forever. I am here to say that is just not the case. Go ahead and reward yourself just pay attention to: the portion size, the emotions behind the eating and experiment with non-food rewards.