DES MOINES, Iowa –Food can cause stress during the holidays, especially since it is such a big part of many seasonal celebrations.
Anne Cundiff, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at the Hy-Vee on Fleur Drive, said to focus on flavor and try to reduce stress instead of worrying about weight. “Weight is not really an important factor over the holidays. It’s all about being happy, enjoying your family, having joy over the holidays and not stressing about the food component,” said Cundiff.
She suggested using spices and herbs to make food more flavorful, and focus on ease to reduce stress. She suggested topping cucumber slices with ready-made guacamole and shrimp warmed up with olive oil and taco seasoning.
Another way to reduce stress is to drink tea. “Tea makes us pause because it’s warm, so we need to not drink it quickly. It also has great properties that decrease stress. Adding a cinnamon stick has great decreasing stress properties, so that can kind of help decrease the stress in your life,” said Cundiff.
And, try eating dark chocolate to satisfy your sweet tooth. Cundiff said, “I love milk chocolate too, but I think we can eat a lot more milk chocolate than dark chocolate. So dark chocolate actually hits more taste buds in our mouth, so we tend to not overeat it as much as milk chocolate. And, there’s lots of different flavors, lots of different cocoa levels, so the higher the cocoa level the drier it is. So, try to go a little lower if you like it to be creamier texture.”
The main thing is to enjoy the holiday season. “As long as they’re moving more, try to take walks after dinner, if you can, or just try to talk walks as much as possible. Get enough sleep. It’s so important so you don’t get stressed out, and so you don’t overeat too. Not enough sleep will make you overeat,” said Cundiff.