With the holidays and all, everybody’s running around to buy gifts, do some shopping, plan dinners, and attend parties. And let’s not forget work 😉 We often have more stress than usual this time of year. So the first thing we should do to gift to our health is relieve our stress through making wiser choices about food, rest, and exercise.
The main key to keeping the stress-levels in control is to remember to eat.
In the busy season, we often end up swamped with tasks, frustrated and hungry at the end of the day with long to-do lists of never ending tasks. Keep your eating schedule intact even in these stressful times – it will help you fight off the stress and keep you healthy.Here are afew guidelines:
- start your day with a healthy breakfast
- have regular meals during the day toensure better self-care
- always bring nuts, fresh fruit, or other healthy snacks with you so you can eat regularly, even on the go
- drink lots of water – stay well hydrated, as that keeps our nerves calm and keeps the stress away from the whole body
- take a quick walk outside – it’s an excellent way to cope with stress – and it is physical activity, you know, keeps you moving 😉
Another key to reducing stress in our day is to make healthy food choices.
Studies show that some specific nutrients aid in maintaining mental health and reducing stress. The nutrients are omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D & the B vitamins, Calcium and iron. Some examples of effective stress-relieving foods are:
- Walnuts – because they are rich in protein and omega 3 fatty acids
- Sunflower seeds – rich in protein, fiber, vitamin B and zinc, good as snack or with breakfast cereals
- Wholegrain brown rice – provides a slow release energy and boosts serotonin release
- Salmon – good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids
- Dark green veggies like broccoli and kale – rich in vitamins, minerals, beta carotene, and calcium
- Fruits like oranges and blueberries – high in vitamin C which helps us deal with stress, and rich in fiber which regulates blood pressure
- Low fat milk –rich in calcium and protein, it helps blood sugar stay stabilized. Mix it with blueberries for the perfect cocktail 😉
- Sweet potatoes – they satisfy the urge for carbs and sweets when we are under a lot of stress. And add a lot of important nutrients to our diet
- Soy – high in protein, B vitamins, calcium & magnesium – all of these nutrients aid in reducing stress levels
- Turkey (and its L-Tryptophan amino acid) has documented calming effect – because of the serotonin release the acid triggers. Chicken has the same properties. As long as it is baked or grilled – you’re good to go against stress with this food.
Soon we will all be focused on our New Year Resolutions so let’s talk about healthy goal setting.
Some of us set our goals for 2011 and will carry them over to 2012, others will set healthy goals for the first time now. All healthy goals are personal, individual, subjective – so we are not going to tell you what goal to set. However, we will help you develop some goals which are realistic and to your preferences. Remember, goals should be SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time based. How does this relate to health? Here are some guidelines to follow:
- When setting healthy goals, address behavior and results, not emotions. –
e.g. I will eat 2 servings of veggies every day during the next 3 months. Or I will exercise 20 min. every day during January.
- The more specific the goals, the easier for you to measure the results. –
e.g. If we set meal times: breakfast at 7:00am, 10:00am snack, lunch at 12:30pm, afternoon snack at 2:00pm and dinner at 7:00pm, we will build a habit easily
- Break a big goal into smaller ones.
Small steps every day is more important than looking at the big picture all the time.
e.g. I want to lose 12 pounds in 3 months. So my target is to lose 1 pound each week starting January 2nd 2012.
- Reward yourself for small or big steps achieved.
e.g. When I achieve my weekly goal, I will go see the latest movie of my favorite actor.
- Keep track of the progress –
it is important, and in a visible way. This will motivate us to stay on the right path toward the goal.
e.g. I will keep a daily food diary and will write down on a big white board at home my weekly weight and waist measurement goals, starting on January 10th 2012. I will purchase big white board no later than January 7th 2012.
And remember – Enjoy the holidays,
if you fall off the wagon from time to time, just get back on track with your regular healthy eating plan the next day and ramp up your exercise to compensate!
P.S. Entering the New Year, we have decided to address all of your feedback about the inconvenient time of the chat and we are changing it! Yeah for the feedback! Starting in January we will change the time to 8:00pm. We will keep #eatprecise twitter party every 1st Tuesday of the month (except for holiday weeks), but we will do it at 8 pm EST for 1 hour –In January, due to the holiday week, we will do the second Tuesday -10th January 2012. See you then! Happy Healthy Holidays from the Precise Portions team!