Beat the bah humbug

By Paige Green, Hy-Vee Dietitian on Friday, December 6, 2019


Stressful times – like the holidays – are the perfect time for tea, particularly chamomile tea.

Good mood food for the holiday season

Although the popular Christmas tune sings, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” the holidays can invite some unwelcome guests: Stress and depression.

Unfortunately, it’s these emotions that cause some of us to convert from a fa-la-la festive elf to a bah humbug Grinch. Do the holidays right by including some good mood food to your wish list, and take merry to the max this season.  

1. Oatmeal  

A perky personality depends on your carbohydrate consumption, specifically the type you’re choosing. Fiber-rich varieties, like those found in whole grains, increase the feel-good chemical, serotonin. Choosing oatmeal for breakfast can kick start your morning and get your day off to a solid start. 

 2. Tea  

Stress time is the perfect time for tea, particularly chamomile tea. This tea promotes sleep so your body can get the rest it needs to deal with stressors. Some researchers are even discovering that tea can lift mood, improve focus, and perhaps defend against depression. Shop til you drop this season, and then cozy up on the couch with a cup of tea.

RELATED: How much sugar is in your favorite holiday drink?

3. Almonds   

Small, but mighty – this nut is exploding with vitamins that may protect both your immune system and mood. Plus, just a small handful of almonds packs in about 20% of your daily recommended intake of magnesium, a nutrient many Americans don’t receive enough of. Without adequate magnesium, we oftentimes feel rundown, therefore our mood can plummet, too.

TRY THIS RECIPE: Dark chocolate nut bark

4. Salmon 

When it comes to battling the holiday stress, consuming fish may be the ticket to make you grin. Salmon is a good source of omega-3s, which supports healthy brain function and keeps positive moods in check. As an added bonus, just one serving of salmon contains more than half of your daily allowance of vitamin D, which most of us fail to meet during the winter due to lack of sunlight. Not fond of fish? Consider taking an omega-3 supplement (your Hy-Vee Dietitian can help you find one in the aisles).

LIVE 5-2-1-0: Make healthy choices this holiday season

 5. Lentils 

Hearty, filling, and warm, lentils make the perfect comfort food. Not only do they make you feel cozy on the inside, they’re also packed with a depression-fighting nutrient: Folate. Lentils are also a great source of fiber, which helps stabilize blood sugar levels – keeping you calm, verses snapping under stress this season.

paigePaige Green received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management at the University of Northern Iowa in 2012. She pursued her passion for nutrition at Iowa State University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in dietetics during the spring of 2015. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Iowa Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Paige truly sets out to educate individuals on finding a healthy balance in life and her passion for people and nutrition inspires clients of all ages. You can find Paige at the Windsor Heights and West Des Moines (Grand Ave.) Hy-Vee store locations.