The holidays and winter social events are a great time of joy and celebration, but they can also be a time of stress.

Some of this stress can come from the fear and temptation of lots of wonderful-tasting food that seems to be everywhere. Here are some quick tips that allow you to calm down and let yourself enjoy your favorite holiday foods with control.

  • Do something for you. The high pace associated with the holidays can take a toll on you. Take a moment to celebrate yourself and calm yourself down when you’re feeling stressed. Stress is often associated with mindless overeating, so minimizing stress will help you control your eating habits.
  • Pay attention to hunger and fullness cues. Holidays are a time for celebrating and eating delicious food, but make sure you are actually feeling hungry before you snack, get second helpings, or taste test every dessert. Poll yourself about how hungry you are before you eat to help control eating for reasons besides hunger.
  • Give yourself permission to enjoy food. Once you make food rules and restrict your diet choices, you are more likely to fill your mind with forbidden food thoughts and overindulge. Instead, give yourself permission to enjoy your favorite foods and eat them slowly so you can savor every bite. This way, you’ll be able to enjoy one piece of apple pie instead of losing control and feeling guilty for eating the entire thing.
  • Try some simple recipe substitutions. Butter, cream cheese, eggs, and other ingredients can easily be replaced by healthier alternatives. Check out the American Heart Association’s list of smart substitutions for more ideas.
  • Have fun and stay active. Build a snowman, take a walk around the neighborhood to see decorated houses, or decide to purchase food and gifts at the store instead of online. This will help work some physical activity into your day and take a moment to enjoy some activities of the season.


Attend Healthy and Stress-free Eating at the Holidays Session

Attend a free workshop on Monday, December 14 from Noon to 1 p.m. in 250F McCormick Hall. The holiday season is a time of joy and celebration that is often accompanied by delicious food and drink. It can be difficult to navigate such an abundant food environment, especially on top of the stress that naturally tends to surround the holidays. This presentation will guide you through how to enjoy all your favorite holiday foods with enjoyment and control. Justine Seymour, B.S., is the presenter for this session. This is a free workshop, but registration is required.


Schedule a nutrition consultation

Health Promotion and Wellness offers free, individual diet analysis and nutrition guidance for those striving to improve their lifestyle. Faculty, staff, and students can meet one-on-one with the Health Promotion and Wellness nutritionist in a confidential setting at no cost.

Participants need to complete a three-day food diary and a health questionnaire available online prior to their nutrition consult. Forms may be returned via email to, by campus mail to 2120, by fax to (309) 438-5003, or by hand delivering to the main Health Promotion and Wellness office in 187 McCormick Hall.

Health Promotion and Wellness also provides presentations for campus groups and organizations. Please contact our office at (309) 438-WELL (9355) to request this service.