I love December. I love it because it is snowing somewhere, raining somewhere, and inevitably Christmas cookies will be baking somewhere. We gather with family and friends that we may not have seen for awhile. We sit down to holiday meals and celebrate and share.
However, with all the children’s Christmas parties, work parties, and friend parties there is usually an abundance of high caloric foods and sweets. Being a typically stressful time of year, we also tend to cut back on exercise, and run through the fast-food drive through when we are hungry instead of planning out a healthy, easy meal.
I encourage you in this season to take a minute for yourself (hey, if you aren’t taking any time, a minute is a good place to start!), sit down, take some time to breathe and think about the next couple of weeks. Here are some helpful tips to reduce stress and plan healthy meals ahead of time:
- Make some conscious decisions about what you are going to feed yourself and your family. Take out the calendar and a piece of paper and write down the commitments you have , the times you can eat together as a family, and times you can get some exercise and personal time, even if it is only 15 minutes!
- If you know you have two parties to go to and a dinner this week, then pace yourself on eating decadent foods. Have a light salad for lunch on the days of parties, and make sure to get some exercise if you can.
- I know it can sound elementary (I have to remind myself of this constantly), but stay hydrated! Overeating happens much more easily when we are dehydrated.
- Slow down and chew. Sounds basic? Watch yourself…try and count how many times you actually chew before swallowing—then practice really chewing your food! I know many of us are guilty of inhaling our food which quickly leads to more over eating.
- Prepare some easy and healthy recipes. I am an advocate for healthy and organic eating. I am also an advocate for having fun, celebrating and relaxing. These things don’t need to be at odds. I think we can have tasty, healthy and stress-free foods (that are festive) during the holidays. I’ve included some recipes this week that you can whip together in no time and help you feel great about what you are serving. You also won’t have a sugar or processed ingredient hangover the next day.