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Finding Balance over the Holidays

5 strategies to help you feel your best ; Written by Jenn Messina, Registered Dietitian

Originally posted on the Half Your Plate (HYP) blog


Holiday season is in full swing and with all of the magic often comes a lot of stress! With the never-ending to-do list, the events, parties, dinners, and more it can feel overwhelming to try to take care of yourself in the meantime. So let me simplify and help you with my top 5 strategies to help you feel your best:


1. Eat regularly: Don’t starve yourself all day in preparation for special events. Remember it’s ok to enjoy food and there is no need to eat less during the day, or the next day to make up for the food you’re enjoying. Restricting our intake during the day can lead to rapid swings in blood sugars which can affect hunger hormones and lead to eating quickly (and possibly overeating). It can also feel super uncomfortable to go from ravenously hungry to stuffed to the brim in minutes. Your digestive system won’t like you here.


2. Plan ahead to make sure you are eating meals & snacks to fuel your days, especially when you won’t be exactly sure what foods will be served at your event. Eating within the first few hours of waking up and then around every 3-4 hours will help you feel your best (you may need to set a reminder on your phone here!). Plan to fill these with lots of veggies & fruits, protein and healthy fats, like:

  • Overnight oats with chopped apple, cinnamon, hemp hearts or chia seeds

  • Leftover veggie chili topped with sliced avocado + warm bun

  • Greek yogurt with granola, sliced banana, pears and nuts

  • Whole grain English muffin with egg, avocado & feta + side of grape tomatoes & carrot sticks

  • Hummus + veggies + whole grain cracker plate

3. Take Mindful Pauses: Slow down, check in with your body every now and again. Put your fork and knife down. Have a sip of water and take a deep breath. What is your body telling you? How hungry are you? Give yourself a chance to feel the sensations in your body and recognize and respond to them.


4. Manage stress: It can be easy to get swept away in the hustle & bustle of the season. Consider what helps you relax and schedule these into your calendar. Whether that means unplugging for an hour or two, getting together with friends for a walk, writing in a journal, or booking a yoga class. Take some time for yourself and think of it like an appointment you need to keep.

5. Move your body: Getting your body moving (ideally outside) will also help you manage stress in a healthy way. Consider what type of movement you actually enjoy? Choose exercises that make you feel good, and you can do regularly. Even if it’s just a 20-minute walk outside. Move your body for joy not as a punishment for what you ate. Remember you don’t need to earn your food.


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