Preparing for the Holiday Season: Holiday Anxieties and Meal Preparation

This time of year we celebrate appreciation and gratitude. Holiday meals and family visits dot our calendar, excitement pours out of the windows as gifts and holiday preparation are discussed, and anxiety can be felt bubbling for many in our world of PWS.

Last week in our TIP, Patrice Carroll wrote a “holiday letter to my extended family,” which encapsulated how holidays are different for someone with PWS. To see last week’s TIP, click here.

On November 15th we posted a PWS University podcast. “The holidays can be a very difficult as it presents as an ultimate trifecta: heightened anxiety due to changes in routine, food focused events, and increased travel.” Patrice Carroll and Katrina Fryklund cover topics ranging from suggestions for traveling by both air and land, to how to develop a strong support system during events. They also discuss the importance of social stories and sticking to a routine, as well as self-care and exit strategies. Other topics include preparing for restaurant outings, successful family “trainings”, and the importance of safety. For someone with PWS, looking forward to something good can be just an anxiety provoking as dreading something in the future. Keep this in mind as you prepare for the holiday season and understand that anxiety may be higher in general despite all the good feelings that come with festivities. To hear the PWS University Podcast, click here.

Finally, we consider holiday meals. Generally, holiday meals are gluttonous and loaded with carbohydrates and unnecessary fats. In preparation for the December holidays we suggest considering a Mediterranean style meal low in carbohydrates and dairy and high in Omega 3. Our LivingHealthy with PWS Cookbook series includes a variety of recipes to consider including breakfast, soups, salads, and sauces, meals and meal sides, and desserts. Some of our favorites which would be great for large holiday meals are included below. To learn more about the LivingHealthy Cookbook series, click here


Patrice Carroll is Latham Centers’ world-renowned Prader-Willi syndrome specialist. She works with Latham’s residents with PWS, their families, and consultants, continuously learning and teaching about PWS best practices. Do you have questions for our PWS specialist? Submit your “tip” topics or general questions to

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