8 Tips for Stress-Free Entertaining This Holiday Season

8 Tips for Stress-Free Entertaining This Holiday Season
See Gallery
8 Tips for Stress-Free Entertaining This Holiday Season

Read on to discover registered dietitian Julieanna Hever's tips for staying stress-free this holiday season.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Prep in advance

"Ideally, the more preparation you do, the less stressful the process of entertaining is," Julieanna says. "I recommend planning as many of the details ahead of time as possible. Decide which dishes you will be making at least one week in advance so as to ensure adequate shopping time and ensure you have everything you need when you need it. Lists are always helpful as guides when planning. You can write lists for dishes you are making, ingredients you need to buy, decorations you want to set up, music ideas, and even a general to do list geared specifically for the event."

Image Credit: Getty Images

Have backup ingredients

Julieanna says that it's always a good idea to have backups around. "I like to have extra ingredients, just in case I botch a dish or someone else gets added to the guest list," she says. "Similarly, I always make a ton of food to ensure everyone has more than enough. I don't want anyone ever leaving my home feeling less than fulfilled on ample healthful, delicious cuisine."

Image Credit: Getty Images

Make-ahead and freezable dishes

"Appetizers can be great to make ahead of time and freeze," Julieanna shares. "If you make items such as soups, stuffed pastries, or mini pies, they freeze well ahead of time. Also, since serving dessert is a must for satisfied guests, you can cook up pies, cakes, and cookies ahead of time and freeze them days ahead of time and defrost a day or two before the big event. I always make my hummus, sauces, dressings, and dips a day in advance so I can have them ready to go when I am prepping dishes that require those ingredients. This expedites the entire process."

Image Credit: Getty Images

One big mistake hosts make

Julieanna knows that slip-ups during the holidays can make stress even worse. "I live by the motto, 'if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.' Mistakes that can increase stress are almost always based off of lack of preparation. Thinking ahead and strategizing about all of the necessary details will enable you to avoid a last-minute frenzy. It's also ideal to also have someone standing by who you can send to the store if you need an extra ingredient or to help be a sous chef," she says.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Shortcuts you should take

"Now that there are eco-friendly disposable plates, bowls, and flatware available, this is an option that will save a lot of time and water in the aftermath cleanup (my least favorite part)," Julieanna shares. "It also helps to say "yes" to guests when they ask if they can bring a dish. This is especially helpful for people who follow special dietary guidelines (i.e. vegan, gluten-free, or if they have food allergies). Other shortcuts include buying pre-cut veggies (frozen or fresh), using tetra-packed vegetable stock instead of making your own stock, opting for canned beans instead of dried, frozen pre-cooked rice, and jarred marinara sauce or salsa instead of making your own."

Image Credit: Getty Images

Ways to de-stress

Julieanna suggests that you stick with your fitness program throughout the holidays. "Many people drop their exercise routine during the holidays because they are busy or stressed. Yet, this is perhaps the most important time of the year to move more," she shares. "Maintaining your current activity level or even upping the ante with some extra fitness bouts during this period will help reduce stress and keep your immune system pumping strong. It also helps to have friends and family to bounce ideas off of and to help support you. Finally, dabbling in meditation or other relaxing habits such as journaling or listening to music makes a substantial difference in maintaining your calm."

Image Credit: Getty Images

How to avoid overeating

"Balance your calories by eating less both before and after a big meal and by squeezing in some extra exercise," Julieanna recommends. "Also, keep the foundation of your diet rich in the most wholesome, nutrient-dense foods. This translates to eating plenty of fruits and veggies, whole grains, legumes, some nuts and seeds, and flavored with herbs and spices. These fiber- and phytochemical-rich foods will keep you satiated on fewer calories and will enable you to eat less of the calorie and sugar laden foods that will make you feel crummy. Push those off the plate and focus on healthful foods instead...at least most of the time."

Image Credit: Getty Images

Don't forget to relax!

"The number one thing people forget while entertaining is to relax and enjoy your company! You worked so hard to create a gorgeous experience for your guests so try to take a few moments throughout the event to sit, relax, have a drink, eat, and catch up," Julieanna shares. "Those are the memories that are most important and make all of the prep completely worthwhile."

Image Credit: Getty Images


Julieanna Hever is a registered dietitian, author and plant-based expert. Her new book, The Vegiterannean Diet, explores transforming the Mediterranean diet into one that focuses on more whole-plant foods to promote long-term health and weight management.

Since Julieanna specializes in health, we asked her expert opinion on ways we can make sure we're not going overboard this holiday season when it comes to both eating and stressing out. From things hosts can do in advance to tips to avoid overeating, Julieanna gave us some great advice to keep in mind this season.

Check out the slideshow above for Julieanna's 8 simple tips for stress-free entertaining.

Read Full Story

Sign up for the Best Bites by AOL newsletter to get the most delicious recipes and hottest food trends delivered straight to your inbox every day.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.