Coping with the Holidays…Less is more!

Published: December 14, 2015

By Lynda Mezansky, MS, RD, CD-N, Clinical Dietitian

Do you feel overscheduled, overfed, and overwhelmed with the upcoming holidays? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, recognize that you are not alone! While this time of year can be a wonderful opportunity to celebrate with family and friends, more often than not it is also a time of great stress. The following suggestions should help you enjoy this time of year. “Less is more” rings true whether you’re talking about food, gifts for loved ones and/or social activities.

Let’s begin with food. Many people find it very difficult to avoid all the special treats that come along with the holidays. It may be those potato pancakes with sour cream, Christmas cookies, eggnog, and many other ’special’ once- a- year treats. It is important to anticipate what’s coming and plan ahead for a special feast or event. If the event is in the evening, make sure you have a healthy breakfast and lunch on that day. Don’t skip a meal in anticipation of the big event. If you arrive very hungry, you may not have the willpower to avoid overeating. Include protein at each meal and get some exercise in the early part of the day. If you have the chance to bring something to the meal, make sure it’s a healthy option, such as a vegetable platter or salad. Make one plate with a sampling of your favorite choices and don’t go back for seconds. If you want to continue eating, try for second servings of a vegetable, salad or fruit. Also, use a small plate for your selections.

Learn how to say “NO.” Perhaps you can say, “Thanks so much but I’m really full! Otherwise, just pass the dish along. Remember, less is more. You will certainly feel better at the end of the evening. Some people feel compelled to deliver all sorts of treats to your door. If it is too tempting for you to handle, just offer the goodies to friends and family, or make goodie bags for guests to take home or bring to the office.

Often we tend to overschedule during this time of year. Maybe you just don’t have to attend every single event that you have been invited to. Instead, if you really want to see a friend, plan for a low key cup of coffee or a walk in the park instead of meeting at another party filled with food and drinks that are hard to resist. One-on-one time with a friend can be so much more rewarding.

Finally, make sure you have “me time” during this time of year. Consider a warm bubble bath at the end of the day, a yoga class that you have been interested in attending, or a simple cup of tea and a good book. Sometimes we just have to take a moment to anticipate, plan and sit back to spend quality time instead of quantity time with friends and family.

Wishing you a very healthy and happy holiday season!

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