Managing Food Triggers During the Holidays

As many of us know migraine triggers may include changes in our sleep schedule, skipping meals, sounds and smells, and changes in the barometric weather pressure. Food triggers can also be problematic for many people with migraines, especially during the holiday season. There are a number of holiday traditions centered around recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation. Unfortunately, many of these recipes may present Migraineurs with additional challenges during this stressful period.

I’ve come up with several ways to handle food triggers during the holidays to reduce my migraine pain:

  • Pre-planning is essential during the holidays especially for those of us with migraine and other chronic illness. To save yourself some time and aggravation, prepare extra servings of your favorite trigger-free meals during the week and freeze them. Then when invited to a function or you are not feeling well or are simply rushed for time, you can grab your trigger-free food from the freezer, defrost it and you are good to go! Feel free to bring your dish to the party, or serve it to your family without too much fuss.
  • Don’t skip meals, or wait too long to eat between meals as this can trigger a migraine attack for some of us. If you are attending a party in the evening, eat as you normally would throughout the day. Don’t “save up” your calories throughout the day by skimping on meals. Doing so can trigger a migraine attack, and also creates a scenario where you are more likely to make poor food choices (and be grumpy too)!
  • When you are invited to a holiday party, ask the hostess if you can bring a prepared dish with you. Politely explain (in as much or as little detail as you wish) that you have dietary restrictions and would be happy to take some pressure of her by providing a dish that you will be able to eat.
  • If you are hosting a holiday event, plan the menu around YOUR needs. There are foods that can be modified to fit a migraine trigger reduced lifestyle. Your guests don’t need to be aware that the menu has been created based on your specific needs.


I hope you find these tips useful and can use them to enjoy the holidays by minimizing exposure to your food triggers.

Do you have some tips for managing food triggers during the holidays? I’d love it if you would share them with me in the comment section below.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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