Healthy Eating for the Holidays

Last Updated: February 16, 2024

The holiday season is in full swing! This time of year can be challenging when it comes to staying consistent with your health and nutrition goals- mostly due to the abundance of decadent food to enjoy, more parties to attend, and less time for physical activity. Whatever your goals are, this is a time to remove all guilt and allow yourself to enjoy your favorite foods mindfully.

Mindful eating allows you to be present by using all of your senses to enjoy your food. It allows your body to stay connected to your mind, keeping you in tune with your hunger and fullness cues, which ultimately tell you when to start and stop eating.

Below are some tips to help you enjoy your favorite foods while keeping your sanity and health in check during the holiday season.

 

 

  1. Avoid the diet mentality

    Skipping meals to ‘save calories,’ over-exercising to earn your food, and other restrictive eating behaviors will only leave you feeling deprived and more likely to overeat later in the day. Aim to eat meals at your regular mealtimes to help keep you satisfied and prevent those unwanted binge episodes.

  2. Slow down

    Focus on slowing down and enjoying your food rather than eating quickly. This gives your digestive system time to recognize when you are beginning to feel full. Ideally, eat your meal while seated and put your fork down between bites, slowly chew your food, and take a sip of your drink before picking up your fork to prepare your next bite. Engage in conversation while you enjoy your meal — this also helps slow down your pace.

  3. Practice mindful eating

    Use all five senses to create visual, sensory, taste, and smell awareness of how the foods you eat affect you. Appreciating the visual appeal, the aromas, and the textures can help contribute to your enjoyment of the meal. By allowing ourselves to fully engage and experience the impact of each bite (mindfully), we are likely to feel greater satisfaction compared with if we are eating quickly with distractions (mindlessly).

  4. Have a plan

    Avoid showing up hungry to a party or event. Having a plan ensures you eat until satisfaction during the day, which will allow you eat mindfully in the evening. Have a light, high protein snack or mini meal before the event. This could be something such as scrambled eggs with veggies, greek yogurt with fruit, an apple with peanut butter or low-fat cheese with an ounce of nuts. If your event is at 6 or 7pm, aim to have a light snack around 3pm to prevent arriving famished.

  5. Load up on veggies

    Aim to fill half your plate with vegetables or salad and save the rest of your plate for entrees (protein) and sides (carbs). Vegetables are fiber-rich foods that are low on energy but high on volume, which helps provide a feeling of fullness without an excessive amount of calories. By doing this you will also be nourishing your body with a variety of nutrients and antioxidants. Yes please!

  6. Watch the alcohol

    Guidelines state that men should limit alcohol intake to 2 servings per day and women should limit to 1 serving per day. Enjoy a drink if you want to, then switch to soda water or sparkling water with a lemon twist. It may be helpful to plan out how many drinks you will be having and spacing them out accordingly. So, if you plan to have two drinks, have one with the appetizers and one with the main meal, then switch to water for the rest of the evening.

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