Eight Strategies for Coping with Holiday Stress Eating

Eight Strategies for Coping with Holiday Stress Eating

This article was originally featured on the Brigham Health Hub blog.


Written by:
Contributor: Paul B. Davidson, PhD, is a Bariatric Psychologist with the Center for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Contributor: Melissa Majumdar, MS, RD, LDN, CPT is a Senior Clinical Bariatric Dietitian in the Center for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.


The holidays can be a wonderful time of year, but they can also quickly turn stressful as you race to finish your holiday shopping and attempt to navigate family events. This stress could lead to emotional eating or “stress eating” and, with a supply of holiday goodies at the ready, it’s easy to fall into unhealthy end-of-year habits.
To combat stress eating during the holidays and practice more mindful eating, follow the tips below:

  • Take your time when eating. Meals should be closer to 45 minutes.
  • Chew your food thoroughly, 40+ times per bite.
  • Plan meals well ahead of time and use a list when shopping to avoid impulsive, less healthy purchases.
  • Focus on the social elements of the meals, rather than concentrating on the food.
  • Allow yourself special treats, but make sure to get in the healthier elements first.
  • Before eating, practice the HALT method to find out if you are truly hungry. Ask yourself if you want to eat because you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired.
  • Bring food along while traveling or running holiday errands to avoid skipping meals and getting too hungry.
  • Practice other relaxation tips rather than eating.

Before You Go
Maintaining a healthy weight can be difficult, but it also helps reduce your risk of developing health problems. Get expert tips on how to lose and maintain weight to optimize your health. Read more articles about managing your weight