Zap Holiday Air Travel Stress

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Zap Holiday Travel Stress


If you’re like many people, you have plans to travel this holiday season. Traveling at any time of the year can be stressful, but the sheer number of people traveling for the holidays and the unpredictable weather can make holiday travel especially stressful. With a little planning, you should be able to keep stress to a minimum. Expect some challenges along the way and keep a light heart—you’ll end up with some good stories to tell. Here are some tips to zap holiday travel stress and perhaps even enjoy your holiday travel this year.

By Air

  • Check your airline’s luggage weight restrictions and fees as these frequently change.
  • Use travel apps to keep in the loop on your flight status, delays, and even estimated times to get through security.
  • Choose nonstop flights if possible to reduce the risk of getting stuck at a connecting airport or having your luggage lost.
  • If you can pack light, do it. In most cases, your best option is still a small carry-on.
  • Earplugs are a great investment—you never know when a nearby two-year-old is going to have a melt-down.
  • Take some distractions with you to help pass the time (book, music, games).
  • Don’t come up empty-handed on snacks. Take protein bars, nuts, peanut butter, protein powder, bags of fresh-cut veggies and other healthy snacks with you. Buy a calorie-free drink before you board the plane.
  • Don’t take wrapped gifts with you on the plane—better to go with gift cards or to ship gifts ahead of time.
  • Consider traveling on days that are less busy—starting early or extending your trip by a few days.
  • Early morning flights are more likely to be on-time.
  • Have phone numbers for everything: hotels, car rental agency, airline, and travel companions.
  • Consider a flu shot and use hand sanitizer frequently to keep illness from ruining your trip.
  • Get up, walk around if possible, and stretch your arms and legs at least once an hour.

Safe and happy travels!

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Zap Holiday Car Travel Stress

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Zap Holiday Travel Stress

If you’re like many people, you have plans to travel this holiday season. Traveling at any time of the year can be stressful, but the sheer number of people traveling for the holidays and the unpredictable weather can make holiday travel especially stressful. With a little planning, you should be able to keep stress to a minimum.  Expect some challenges along the way and keep a light heart—you’ll end up with some good stories to tell. Here are some tips to zap holiday travel stress and perhaps even enjoy your holiday travel this year.

By Car

  • Have your oil changed, tire pressure checked, repairs done, and older cars checked by a mechanic to make sure your car is up for the trip ahead of time.
  • Better to be safe than sorry–pack an emergency kit (a shovel, windshield scraper and small broom, flashlight with extra batteries, battery powered radio, water, snack food including energy bars, matches and small candles, extra hats/socks/mittens, first aid kit with pocket knife, necessary medications, blankets, tow chain/rope, sand /kitty litter, booster cables, emergency flares/reflectors, and a cell phone charger for car. You know how it works—if you pack it, you won’t need it.
  • Scope out alternative routes before you leave so you’ll be familiar with your options in case you need them. Be sure to have a map or map app with you.
  • Give yourself extra time so you are not feeling rushed and can break up long trips with frequent pre-planned stops. Look for stops that will enhance your trip and let you get out and move around for a while.
  • Download apps before you head out that help you find the cheapest gas and cleanest bathrooms.
  • Do what you gotta do to maintain your sanity–take earplugs, listen to a book on CD, sing along to your favorite tunes, and of course keep the kids entertained with movies, books, games, and music.
  • Pack a cooler full of healthy snacks and drinks for the road and avoid fast food and gas station food if possible. If you do need to get food on the road, choose wisely.
  • You’ll find the least traffic in the early morning and late at night. Fewer cars and sleeping children are a good combination.

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Pumpkin Dip

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Pumpkin Dip

3/4 cup (6 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup Splenda
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 tablespoon sugar-free maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl or blender and mix until smooth. Cover and chill 30 minutes before serving. Serve the dip with peeled apple slices, banana slices, or cinnamon pita chips. Makes 12 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 40 calories, 1 gram protein, 3 grams fat, 2 grams carbohydrate, 63 mg sodium.

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Sweet Potato & Apple Casserole

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Sweet Potato and Apple Casserole

2 medium sweet potatoes
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch rings
2 tablespoons sugar-free maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the sweet potatoes on a piece of aluminum foil and roast until they can be easily pierced with a fork, about 1 hour. Let cool slightly. Trim the ends and pull off the peels; slice into 1/2-inch rounds.

Coat a small (3-1/2-quart) casserole dish with half the butter. In a bowl, stir together the cinnamon, ginger, and allspice. Place ½ of the apple rings in the dish, top with ½ of the sweet potatoes, ½ of the spice mixture and ½ of the syrup. Repeat and dot the top with the remaining butter.

Cover and bake until the apples are very tender, about 45 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 111 calories, 1 gram protein, 22 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fat.

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Light Artichoke Dip

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Light Artichoke Dip

1 15-ounce can artichoke hearts in water, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained well
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons part-skim ricotta
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until it reaches the consistency of bean dip.

Spread mixture in a shallow 8-inch ovenproof serving dish and bake until bubbling, about 30 minutes. Serve warm with pita chips or cut veggies. Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 68 calories, 5 grams protein, 9 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fat.

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