Zen Holiday: Tips To Staying Stress-Free & Healthy During The Holiday Season

November 24, 2015 Updated: January 18, 2016
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From in-laws and family visits to cooking the perfect meal and buying the perfect gift, staying stress-free and healthy during the  holiday season is a challenge but there are some things that can be done to help alleviate some of this stress and keep healthy.

Stress is something we all experience, but it is one of the causes of many health issues and reducing stress not only allows for  better health but also the ability to enjoy the holidays a bit more. Below are 5 Tips to staying stress free this holiday season  while eating healthy too!

 1. Meal-Prep Healthy Meals. Cooking in advance can help with reducing stress and better eating. Once or twice a week, cook  food in bulk. Select one day a week normally a Sunday works best and set aside 1-2 hours to cook a few different types of meals then put them in storage containers to keep in the fridge, this will save you a lot of time during the week and money too. By doing this you’ll reduce any worry about cooking and what to eat for lunch/dinner and will allow you to stay healthier by reducing the chance of being grabbing quick less healthy meal options such as fast-food.

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Cooking in advance can help with reducing stress and better eating. (8213erika/iStock)

 

2. Don’t Stress-Eat. Stress eating happens to the best of us and most of the time, we aren’t even hungry. We just like having something there to snack on whenever we get stressed. Therefore, keep healthy snacks such as granola, nuts, cheese sticks and fruit available and on the go with you. By doing this, you can eat snacks throughout the day and keep yourself from starving you won’t crave bad food and you won’t binge-eat but also know that the snacks being consumed are not going to cause weight gain.

3. Drink Water. Water is key, not only does it remove toxins and flush the system, it also causes one to be full. A lot of times the body misinterprets thirst for hunger and by keeping well hydrated it will prevent over eating as well as allowing a more full sensation.

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Green leafy vegetables like romaine lettuce and spinach contain folate, which produces dopamine, a pleasure-inducing brain chemical, helping you keep calm. (smilingsunray/iStock)

 

4. Up The Green Leafy Veggies. Green leafy vegetables like romaine lettuce and spinach contain folate, which produces dopamine, a pleasure-inducing brain chemical, helping you keep calm. A 2012 study in the Journal of Affective Disorders of 2,800 middle-aged and elderly people and found those who consumed the most folate had a lower risk of depression symptoms than those who took in the least. Therefore try making a hearty wholesome salad filled with these great high in folate veggies for lunch or as an accompanying side. This will not only cause to fill up faster but also aid in keeping you stress-free.

5. Turkey Time. Turkey contains high amounts of tryptophan which is to blame for that food coma on Thanksgiving. The amino acid, found in protein-containing foods, helps produce serotonin. In a 2006 study published in the Journal of Psychiatry Neuroscience, found that tryptophan significantly decreased quarrelsome behaviors and increased agreeable behaviors and perceptions of agreeableness in both men and women. Furthermore increasing serotonin levels can enhance socially constructive behaviors and improve social perceptions. So this thanksgiving and holiday season, don’t shy away from the holiday white meat staple. This will allow for a more serene and happier holiday time!

Dr. Caroline Cederquist, M.D. Caroline read her first statistics about obesity at a very young age. Growing up, the majority of Caroline’s family was overweight. Through her knowledge of weight management, she is proof that you can manage your genetic predispositions through healthy lifestyle changes.  It’s through her extensive work with patients that Caroline developed the nutritional foundation for bistroMD, focusing on the right balance of macronutrients in the diet: the protein, the right carbohydrates, healthy fats and fiber.