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 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.
- 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). Self-talk can help you be accountable to yourself and remember that eating right is important.
- If you are looking for a snack, ask the most important question: “Am I hungry?” If the answer is no, then take a moment to ask yourself why you feel you want to eat something. If the answer is yes, then enjoy a healthy snack.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
Easy Snack Ideas
- Fruit: Keep fruit with you in your briefcase or bag. Cut an apple or orange in quarters in the morning, put it into a zippered snack bag. Cut fruit is sometimes more enticing and easier to eat on the go that whole fruit.
- Pack fruit cups in your desk drawer
- Keep Greek yogurt in the fridge at work for a midday snack
- Portion out 1/4 cup of almonds or mixed nuts into a small container or snack bag
- Buy pre-portioned 200 calorie bags of trail mix
- Use reusable containers to make yogurt parfaits, or add canned peaches to cottage cheese
- Pair one string cheese with a sliced pear
- Spread nut butter onto a banana
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
- 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.