Dr. Russell Greenfield: Hi! I am Dr. Russ, and a member of Harris Teeter's Yourwellness team. Well, the holiday season is upon us. It's that time of year, when family and friends, gather to share love and laughter, reflect on our good fortune and to offer gratitude. Sometimes however, the beauty of the holidays could be overshadowed by stress associated with hours of meal planning and concerns over possible weight gain. Let's talk about how to limit stress, during this special time and make the holidays a time of peace, and joy for everyone. A big part of enjoying the holidays has to do with advance planning. Start early, and make a master plan of what needs to be done, a month, a week, and a day in advance of the family gathering. Decide early, whether you want a formal sit down dinner, or an easier buffet style event. Then, choose your menu items accordingly, thinking about every course from appetizer, to dessert, to beverages. Do some of your shopping online, so you can simply show up at the store and pick up your goods, saving you both time and energy. Prepare and freeze whatever you can, ahead of time. For example, baked goods can be stored in tins, roasts can be cooked the day before and served cold and vegetables can be chopped and refrigerated in plastic bags. You might even plan to set a special ambiance for the event. Before everyone arrives, place cloves, cinnamon, and orange peels in the oven, set it on low temperature for about an hour. The holiday aroma will fill your entire house in time for the party. Concerns about weight gain over the holidays are common. Keep in mind that while it's important to maintain a healthy diet through out the year, it's also important to build an occasional splurges, within reason and the holidays can be a good time for that. Mix in some healthy foods for the heart along with those tasty, maybe not so healthy items that feed our souls in moderation. Make sure to keep up your exercise regiment too. Not only is this a good way to maintain optimal body weight and fitness, but exercise is also a great stress buster.
Speaking of stress relief, be sure to get plenty of sleep each night. Limit caffeine and alcohol, get outdoors a little each day, and build sometime into your busy schedule to relax, enjoy and simply remember the reason for the season. While you are being good to everyone else, it's important to take some time to be good to yourself too. Happy Holidays everyone, and be well!