How to Eat Mindfully During the Holidays to Combat Stress

Overeating and Holiday Stress

Although the holidays are jolly they can also be a major source of stress. People worry about their jobs, finances, and relationships and to add insult to injury we lack enough sleep and over extend ourselves socially. There are candy bowls tempting us on office desks and cookies galore. We naturally comfort ourselves with rich sweet foods, but in reality it causes us even more stress by adding guilt to the picture. The good news is there are certain foods that combat stress.

Do not allow the foods you eat to negatively affect your moods.

Do not allow the foods you eat to negatively affect your moods.

Foods that Combat Stress:

  1. Almonds: Almonds are full of B and E vitamins which protect our immune system and boost our mood. They also posses 20% of our daily magnesium needs. Lack of magnesium can cause migraines and fatigue. I like to keep a small bag in my purse and snack on them throughout the day or before attending a party.

  2. Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes are high in B6 and magnesium and are also an anti inflammatory. Oven baked sweet potatoes are incredibly comforting and a delicious alternative to deep fried French fries. Baked and roasted sweet potatoes are also healthy and easy. If you are looking for something different to sooth all of your senses try my Thai Peanut Sweet Potato Soup (simply click the words in green to see recipe).

  3. Lentils: Lentils are packed with depression fighting folate which helps make serotonin and dopamine. 

  4. Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate, in small doses, is the highest level food for magnesium. It is also linked to improved cognitive behavior which increases memory and awareness. Instead of reaching for the cheesecake (roughly 1400 calories per slice, reach for a small square of dark chocolate for 164 calories)


Increasing Mindful Eating Practices

Through awareness we can avoid sabotaging ourselves by overeating. Below are several tips to help increase mindful eating and decrease holiday stress.

  • Sit down when you eat. Chew your food.  Notice the flavors, colors and textures and enjoy each bite. Slow way down and notice your body- do your shoulders relax, is your stomach rumbling, notice what you taste.

  • Only eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. This seems easy and logical but we all overindulge from time to time. When you reach for a snack ask yourself how you feel. Are you stressed or frustrated and emotional eating or are you really hungry.

  • Practice self compassion. We all slip from time to time, particularly during the holidays. Allow yourself to fully enjoy the food and experience and forgive yourself when you overindulge. Simply being aware will help you eat more healthfully next time. Consider starting a journal. Write down how you are feeling before you eat, write what you eat (be honest) and write how you feel after you eat. 

  • Find an outlet for stress or a distraction when you reach for the peppermint bark or bag of chips. Instead try a brisk walk, yoga, or reading a book.

  • Finally, set yourself up for success. Do not keep foods that are tempting to you at home. Before attending parties drink a bowl of broth based soup to give you a healthy foundation. And, drink plenty of water.

To combat stress be sure to get enough quality sleep each night, practice mindfulness throughout the day, but especially when eating. Practice self love and compassion by saying no to activities that overextend you. Treat yourself to a few minutes each day doing something you love whether its watching a tv show, taking a bath, meditating, doing a craft, or taking walk a few minutes to yourself is important. Without having our own cup filled and being self nurtured we run ourselves down having less to give others and risking getting sick.



P.S. Please scroll down below the tags and click the heart if you found this blog helpful. Thank you so much for taking the time to read it and I wish you all joy and peace.