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Keep stress off the holiday meal menu, expert advises

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WEDNESDAY, Nov. 24 (HealthDay News) -- If you are one of the many people who have high expectations for your holiday gatherings, a few simple steps can help reduce your stress on Thanksgiving.

Mary Muscari, an associate professor in the Decker School of Nursing at Binghamton University, State University of New York, offers the following advice:

* Shop for perishable items well ahead of time and have a list ready for what you need to buy immediately before the holiday.

* If you're going to use the good silver and china, get it ready before Thanksgiving.

* Try to get everyone to share the chores. Also, cutting some corners, for example, purchasing a pie rather than making one from scratch, is also OK.

* Don't stress over making a meal that's both tasty and healthy. Just do what you can to cut down on fat, sugar and other unhealthy ingredients, watch serving sizes and plan to eat healthy the rest of the week.

* Limit your driving. You don't have to see every family member in one day. Alternate years that you visit relatives on Thanksgiving or celebrate with them another day.

* Take time to give thanks for what you have and encourage your children to do the same. Consider donating items to the food bank to help those who are dire straits.

The American Psychological Association offers tips for staying calm during the holidays.

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