Can you take anything off your plate?


Amidst the frenzy of gearing up for the holidays (food preparation plans, gift giving, holiday travel), many pastors are also juggling overloaded church schedules.

In addition to the regular activities of the church, the weeks leading into Advent bring charge conferences, capital campaigns and/or ordination papers, plus an influx of denominational retreats and unexpected pastoral emergencies, not to mention daily family life.  During other parts of the year, a pastor might be able to prioritize action items or delegate some duties to willing church or family members, depending upon the tasks. But what about those times when it seems as if absolutely NOTHING can be delayed, delegated or outright removed from the list of duties?

That’s exactly when stress moves in.  And as the pressure rises, it can be all too easy to return to old habits of choosing unhealthy (though very convenient) foods or eating to relieve stress — habits you may have worked really hard to change.

Through our Spirited Life program, we offer pastors the Naturally Slim healthy eating program, and countless clergy have seen it make a real difference in their lives. But the stress of the holidays can put the program’s tools to the test.  The Naturally Slim ‘hunger savers’ or the incredibly popular H2Orange may not feel like enough to get you through the long and stressful days of the Advent season.

So: some reinforcements…

Stress is a known trigger for cravings, so planning ahead is key — especially when craving foods that are either salty, sweet, crunchy (or all of the above!) In addition to packing the recommended Naturally Slim hunger savers, here is a useful chart from that helps you match up your unhealthy craving with healthier food options.

May God continue to strengthen you to add healthier food to your physical plate, even as you juggle the duties piling up on your pastoral plate.

– Angela M. MacDonald

(Images courtesy of &

2 thoughts on “Can you take anything off your plate?

  1. This is a pretty handy tool! Though I didn’t see a substitute for IHOP buttermilk pancakes (my all-the-time mother of cravings), I do see that I can seek healthier craving alternatives. Lucky for me, those substitutes and alternatives are more likely to be in the house much more often than IHOP pancakes ever will! Thanks for reminding me of that!!!

    • LE — thanks for your reply! I’m glad you’ve found the chart helpful. Over the holidays, the sugar and salt cravings are going to run wild. This chart, coupled with the tips from Naturally Slim, will hopefully be helpful for all of us!

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