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How to feel sane around food this holiday season

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  • Written By: Jamie Marchetti, MS, RDN, LD
How to feel sane around food this holiday season

The holidays roll around, and there is an abundance of delicious food available. Between a myriad of parties, gift baskets, and a plethora of holiday treats at every turn, food can become a source of stress at the end of the year. It is normal to feel at the mercy of food during this time, as if it’s nearly impossible to make food choices we feel good about.

Here are five ways to help feel more sane around food this holiday season:

  1. Know that all foods are acceptable to eat and you get to choose what you want to enjoy. Keeping this in mind can relieve the feelings of self-deprecation you might normally have after eating something “bad.”
  2. Savor the foods you really love. Everyone has their favorite holiday foods. If you have the opportunity to choose those foods, make sure that you’re really engaging in the full sensory experience of the food. Likewise, if there are holiday foods you don’t prefer, it is okay to say, “No, thank you,” to those foods.
  3. Focus on the true celebrations. Food can easily find its way to the center of the festivities. Even if you are gathered at a potluck or cookie exchange, practice maintaining awareness that the deeper purpose of the gathering is to spend time with loved ones and enjoy the holiday, and that the food can simply be an accompaniment.
  4. Continue to eat your regular meals as usual, even if you know there is an event coming up. Often, we’re tempted to fast or minimize intake throughout the day to “allow” for more indulgent foods later in the day. However, this often results in feeling overly hungry by the time those indulgent foods are available, and eating beyond a point of comfort.
  5. Be aware of other aspects of your well-being throughout the holidays. Stress levels have a tendency to soar during the holidays, and it can be tough to get adequate sleep and exercise, as well. Focusing on ways to feel rested, move your body, and manage stress can help take the pressure off of food to provide all the care you need.

In a time of the year when it can feel like everything is out of control, it is OK to take a moment to make the choices about food and caring for yourself that you really want to make. When you’re feeling your best and feeling well-taken care of, you can better enjoy the time celebrating with family and friends.

Jamie Marchetti, MS, RDN, LD, is a Registered Dietitian at Campbell County Health. For a one-on-one nutrition counseling session, call 307-688-1731. Learn more at

  • Category: Nutrition, Wellness