The holidays can be a wonderful time of year, but they can also be stressful. You may be dealing with added financial burdens, a heavier work load, scheduling conflicts, or are grieving a recent loss – it all adds up to stressful moments amongst the joyful.

That stress impacts your health. It can lead to overeating, skipped meals, or poor eating choices too. Being mindful of your hunger and reasons for overeating are important all year through, but during this busy season, it’s an especially good idea to pay closer attention. If you’ve been on a weight loss or health journey, don’t set big goals over the holiday season. Shoot for maintenance. When you are feeling rushed and stressed, take a minute to slow down be mindful of the moment.

Try to Stay Mindful

  1. When your schedule is packed, it’s easy to lose track of when or what you are eating. Make it a point each day this month to take a few minutes each evening and morning to think about your meal plan. For instance, before you go to bed, think about what you’ll eat for breakfast, and make sure you are up in time. Then at breakfast, make a decision about lunch and snacks through the day (see ideas below). You may even want to do all of this before you go to bed – so the thinking is done. Self-talk can help you be accountable to yourself and remember that slowing down, and eating right, is important.
  2. If you are looking for a snack when you feel stressed, stop and ask the question: “Am I hungry?” If the answer is no, then take a moment to ask yourself why you feel you want to eat something. When the answer is yes, then enjoy a healthy snack.
  3. Stay hydrated. When you’re on the go all day, be sure to keep a water bottle in the car, at your desk, or in your bag.
  4. Have fruit and nuts with you. Keeping fruit nearby makes it easy to make a good snack choice. Nuts are high in protein and fat, so can satisfy you (just keep portion control in mind).
  5. Feeling bad about what you are eating won’t help you feel better, so don’t be too hard on yourself on the day you overindulge. Make tomorrow a new day of healthy eating, lighter portions, and more movement.

Quick and Light Breakfast and Lunch Ideas

  • Quick oats. Use the microwave, add chopped or sliced fruit or 1 TB dried fruit and 1 TB chopped nuts
  • Cottage cheese mixed with sliced grapes or banana
  • Whole grain toast spread with ricotta cheese or nutbutter
  • 1/2 Whole grain bagel spread with peanut butter, 8 ounces milk
  • Whole grain toast with a slice of melted cheese and tomato
  • Scrambled egg wrap (use a 100 calorie tortilla type wrap, add scrambled eggs. Garnish with a sprinkling of cheese or salsa)
  • Turkey and spinach leaves in a pita pocket, with a piece of fruit
  • Rice bowl with leftover meat and veggies on top
  • Chopped salad (make use of ready-to-eat salad kits. Prepare the night before, then pack for lunch or add as a side dish to dinner)
  • Mixed green salad with tuna or cottage cheese, dried fruit, 1 TB sunflower seeds (tuna, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese are easy ways to add protein to salads
  • Hummus in a pita pocket topped with alfalfa sprouts or mixed salad greens and chopped tomato. Add a piece of fruit and a one-ounce bag of potato chips
  • Ham and cheese on a flatbread, topped with spinach. Snack bag of carrots.