New year, new you—and maybe that new you could be one who is a little bit less stressed, right? Of all the health goals we can set for ourselves, reducing our stress might be the one we should be focusing on the most. The Washington Post even released a report recently that addressed all the risks associated with chronic stress. Eating better and exercising more are great health resolutions to make for ourselves—there’s no denying that—but not enough of us are making a resolution to seriously limit our levels of stress before it seriously hurts us.

In this issue of School Nutrition, we’re taking a look at stress in all of its many forms, whether those stressors are related to our work, our home life, or something else entirely. Yes, stress can be a good thing because it can help us meet deadlines or manage crises. But when it gets out of control? That’s when it’s time for better management strategies, and our hope is that you’ll find them in our January/February issue highlighting these topics:

  • Stress Prevention: The first aspect of stress we’ll examine is how you can do a better job of preventing stress from overwhelming you in the first place. Approaches like being better in your communication style, learning how to decline requests that you know are a bad idea, and keeping workplace stress under control are all important if you’re going to stop small stress factors from building up into something big.
  • Stress Management: Stress can often be unavoidable. When it enters your life, as it inevitably will, you can lessen its negative effects by managing it properly. To do this, you might need to delegate tasks or change your perspective. In other cases, you might need to be careful about avoiding self-sabotage disguised as self-care. And when all the stress gets too difficult, it can be beneficial for you to consider therapy.
  • Stress Relief: If you find yourself hurting under too much stress, then it’s time for relief. The right healthy practices can help you recover and heal from the negative effects of stress, whether you approach this by prioritizing healthy physical habits, such as good nutrition or a regular exercise routine, or healthy mental habits, such as laughter and journaling. It’s also important to figure out when you should make a change!
  • Food Focus: Ready to Dough for It: A secret weapon in your speed-scratch arsenal is par-baked dough, allowing you to create fresh, appealing, nutritious options from a variety of world cuisines. With meal options like strombolis, empanadas, focaccia and more, this dough base provides a good source of grains while serving as an excellent vehicle for nutritious vegetables and proteins.

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