Your Holiday Survival Kit

If only the holidays were actually like the way they look in movies. You know the ideal scene with just the right amount of snow, perfect decorations, beautifully prepared food and relaxed friends and family connecting to enjoy the season. In reality, the snow starts to fall just when you were heading out to shop, the decorations barely make it up, the food doesn’t look like the picture in the cookbook and in spite of all your best intentions to connect, you and your friends are all just too busy.

I’m sure that you have a plan. And you have lists. And you have lists for your lists. But, have you thought about how you are going to take care of you this holiday? (I mean beyond going out and buying and wrapping a gift for yourself!) I may not be able to offer you 20% off on your next order or free shipping from your favorite store, but I can help you lay out a five-point plan to take care of you during this busy season.

Snowflake / Liz West / CC BY 2.0

1. Push the lists aside and start logging…

Your food, that is. This is the number one action you can take to control and actually remember how much you are eating throughout the day.

2. Put down the cookie…

Unless it is the most delicious cookie you have ever eaten and you have a moment to savor and truly enjoy how delicious it is. And then don’t forget to write it in your food log so you can remember you had it when the next cookie comes along.

3. Just say no.

Saying yes to every party, every school function, every activity and all of the other opportunities that will come your way over the next few weeks is just too much. Consider which things you really want to be at or participate in and respectfully decline the rest.

4. Plan and shop for food.

I realize that after a day of battling people at the mall and around town you are too tired to add yet another stop at the grocery store, but I can assure you that if you don’t, you will end up grabbing fast food or another less nutritious option. Check out the recipes below for some terrific make-ahead recipes that will make it easy to have a home-cooked meal.

5. Breathe and take a moment to remember what it’s all about

Okay, maybe you aren’t going to devote a night to watching a Hallmark channel holiday movie, but I do think it’s important to remember why we engage in all of this craziness.  You just might find that it helps you de-stress and enjoy the season a lot more.

Four go-to recipes for the busiest time of the year:

2 Guiding StarsChippy Chili (2 Guiding Stars): Just 10 minutes to prep and ready within an hour, this family friendly dish will quickly become one of your “go-to” meals during a busy week.

1 Guiding StarSlow Cooker Vegetable and Beef Soup (1 Guiding Star): Another one that cooks while you are busy doing other things, this hearty soup is all you need for a filling dinner on a cold night.

2 Guiding StarsRainbow Pizza (2 Guiding Stars): Just like it sounds, this colorful pizza will get your whole family eating their veggies! Ready in just 40 minutes and waaay better than the pizza at the mall!

2 Guiding StarsBaked Roasted Squash, Ricotta and Fusilli (2 Guiding Stars): A healthy twist on traditional mac-n-cheese, this dish is just the right amount of comfort after a long day. Save time with store bought, pre-cut squash.