DECEMBER is the month for Christmas!!

Five Tips to Reduce Stress Eating

December is the month for stressing over just about everything. Often times our busy schedules lead us to excess calorie intake. It’s easy to grab the most convenient options when your already behind schedule. Don’t let stress eating keep you away from living your best “stress free” life! 

Here are five tips to reduce your stress eating habits:

1. Don’t skip meals– Eat three meals every day. Between each meal, eat a healthy snack (fruit, cheese, almonds and/or vegetables) to maintain your energy and curb your appetite.
2. Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffedDon’t use stress as an excuse to overeat. Instead, use meal time as an opportunity to relax. Sit down, get comfortable, eat slowly and enjoy.
3. Plan your exercise schedule– Moderate to intense daily exercise reduces your stress level and sticking to a schedule helps you feel in control of your day. Even when you’re at your busiest, plan ahead and find time for at least 10 to 15 minutes of activity each day.
4. Avoid high-calorie beverages– Alcoholic drinks and sugary sodas, juices and teas are high in calories and low in nutrition. Instead, try sparkling water or still water infused with your favorite fruits. 
5. Don’t revolve everything around food– Whenever you’re in charge of planning an event with family and friends, try games and activities that aren’t all about food.

How to Avoid Over-Scheduling

Rest might not be an “active” activity, but it’s just as important for your mental and emotional health. Use these tips to safeguard the downtime in your day:

Keep your calendar in your pocket. Keep your calendar up to date in Gmail, Outlook or another calendar app you prefer to use and avoid accidentally double-booking yourself. 

Build in “buffer time.” Leave a little wiggle room in case things don’t go as planned. If you pack your schedule too tight and face heavy traffic in the morning, you may get behind and feel stressed all day long. 

Be honest with yourself. Do you really want to take on an additional task or responsibility, or do you just feel guilty about saying no? 

Find a polite way to say no. Sometimes you want to say no, but you’re not quite sure how. Practice a few quick, polite ways to decline an offer so you don’t say “yes” when you’re caught off guard.

Avoid a multitasking meltdown. Make sure you leave yourself enough time to properly focus on each task at hand. Do a great job on one task instead of a mediocre job on three or four. 

Walnut Blueberry Energy Bites
Get a boost when you’re on the go.

INGREDIENTS: 1 cup lightly-toasted walnuts, chopped • 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour • 1 cup uncooked oatmeal, regular or quick-cooking (not instant) • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut • 1/3 cup maple sugar • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom • ¼ teaspoon salt • ½ cup dried blueberries • ¼ cup maple syrup • 3 tablespoons olive oil • 2 tablespoons butter • 1 teaspoon baking soda • 2 teaspoons boiling water

INSTRUCTIONS: 1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the walnuts, flour, oatmeal, coconut, maple sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and salt. Stir with a fork or whisk until completely mixed. Add the blueberries and stir to combine. Set aside. 2. Heat two tablespoons of water to boiling in a pan. As the water boils, combine the maple syrup, olive oil and butter in a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and stir until the butter melts. 3. While the butter is melting, combine the baking soda and boiling water in a small bowl. Once dissolved, pour the contents of the bowl into the syrup mixture and stir to blend; it will become very bubbly. 4. Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and stir vigorously to combine. 5. Using a tablespoon and your hands, scoop up pieces of dough and press them into walnut-sized balls. Place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. With your fingers or the palm of your hand, flatten each ball slightly into a puck shape. 6. Bake 10–12 minutes at 350 degrees F., until the cookies have spread slightly and are golden brown around the edges. Cool five minutes on the pan; then transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

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