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December 3, 2014
6 Holiday Survival Skills

6 Holiday Survival Skills

The Hood Answer Mom, Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D.

For most of us, the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day are filled with fun activities, but they can also be stressful. You may eat too many rich foods, and not exercise or sleep as much as you should.  In addition, shopping, wrapping, and entertaining can feel like a part-time job. Here’s how to keep the joy in the holiday season.

Don’t arrive hungry

Avoid going to the mall, grocery story, or holiday gatherings ravenous. When you’re shopping for gifts or for food, intense hunger drains your concentration and stamina, which are critical if you have a limited amount of time at the store during your lunch hour, after work, or on weekends. Take the edge off hunger before going out by having a snack that packs protein and carbohydrate, such as a carton of Greek yogurt, fruit and a small handful of nuts, or Hood Cottage Cheese and whole grain crackers. 

Get back on track, fast

There’s a good chance that you’ll eat more than you should at least once this holiday season.  No need to dwell on how you went back for seconds (or thirds) at the dinner table, or how you indulged in too many sugar cookies. No single large meal, or day or overeating, ruins a healthy eating plan.  Begin the next day with a balanced breakfast of whole grains, low-fat dairy, such as Hood 1% Lowfat Milk, and fruit. Eat other healthy meals and snacks, get some exercise, and drink plenty of water to get back on track.

Keep it simple

When hosting holiday gatherings, prepare the entrée and one or two dishes such as Mini Spinach Quiches and Golden EggNog Cake. Ask guests to bring the rest of the food. 

Learn to say no

You don’t have to attend every holiday event you’re invited to. Saying no allows for more time to relax and to get other holiday tasks accomplished. Avoid some seasonal parties to help reduce stress levels, and help you eat fewer higher-calorie foods. 

Be mindful

Instead of nibbling on foods that you don’t really care for at seasonal gatherings, chose the holiday treats you love, and be sure to savor every bite.  The first few forkfuls of any food are the most enjoyable, so take small portions. Whenever possible, sit down while you’re eating to better focus on the food. 

Give yourself a break. The holidays are a marathon, not a sprint, especially for parents and other caretakers who are feeling overwhelmed.  Reserve 30 minutes a day for “me time” and do something that you love. Taking time to relax is energizing in the long run. 



Elizabeth M. Ward

Elizabeth M. Ward

Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D., is a writer, nutrition consultant, and mother of three. She is the author of several books, including MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better and Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, & After Pregnancy . Ward is also a contributing writer for Muscle & Fitness Hers and Men's Fitness magazines.

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