Mood-boosting comfort foods may lower stress during challenging times

Orange Hoisin Chops

The pandemic is causing uncertainty and upheaval in our everyday life, taking a toll on our routines, relationships, and physical and mental health. Many of us have been turning to food for comfort, with sales of staples like meat, flour, and eggs spiking in recent months.

It could be due to our biological drive. New research, published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, found meat plays an important role in our mental health. The study found clear evidence that those who avoid eating meat tended to have higher rates or risk of depression and anxiety compared to those who include meat in their diet.

Celebratory foods like ribs, bacon, and steak can even help lift our spirits and mark special occasions – even if you’re just rejoicing that it’s summertime. Perfect for a backyard barbecue, this delicious pork chop recipe is a great way to toast the warm weather with family or friends, even if at a distance.

Orange Hoisin Chops

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4


  • 4 pork loin or rib chops, about 1-inch thick
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine or cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp Sriracha sauce
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Zest from an orange (for garnish)


  1. Place chops in a resealable plastic bag.
  2. Combine hoisin sauce, ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar, orange zest, Sriracha sauce, orange juice, cumin, and sesame oil in a small bowl until well blended. Pour over chops. Seal bag and refrigerate for a minimum of four hours, preferably overnight.
  3. Remove chops from marinade; discard marinade. Pat chops with a paper towel to remove excess marinade.
  4. Preheat barbecue on high; reduce heat to medium. Grill chops 5 to 7 minutes per side, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 155°F (68°C).
  5. Remove chops from grill onto a clean plate. Tent loosely with foil and allow chops to rest 3 to 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with remaining orange zest.

Check out the Healthy Plates. Inspiring Meals. guide for more recipes that celebrate how to eat well, available at

– NC

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