Are you nervous you’re going to gain weight this holiday season? Worried that you won’t be able to control yourself around all of the treats? You’re definitely not alone, but I promise you can make it through unscathed! If you want to apply some mindful eating during the holidays this year, I’m going to walk you through my favorite tips and strategies for navigating holiday eating in this post.
Tip 1: Don’t save your calories
Eat regular meals
I know it’s tempting, but one of the first steps to mindful eating during the holidays is to eat consistently. Eating consistently throughout the day is one of the essential habits that will support you feeling in control around food. Trying to “save calories” by eating less throughout the day will only backfire when you show up ready to demolish any holiday dish that comes your way (because you’re so hungry!).
Avoid going too long without eating
When you have a big holiday event coming up, make sure that meals and snacks aren’t spaced too far apart. If you eat lunch at noon and the party isn’t until 7pm, planning a snack in between will help you feel in control around food when you get there.
Tip 2: Practice mindful eating during the holidays
Take a “pause” before making a food decision
When we show up for parties, we’re often SO hungry that we’ll eat just about anything that comes our way. But, you’ve already implemented tip #1, so you’re going to be in a great place to take this pause. Take a quick second to ask yourself: Do I want this right now? Holiday foods can feel SO exciting, but realistically, they’re foods you can have whenever you want!
Put your food on a plate
Okay, I know this sounds silly, but it’s a game changer. Put your food on a plate. How many apps do you eat when you’re just walking around chatting and grabbing at foods? Before you know it you’re stuffed and you haven’t even tried the cookies that you were super excited about! Putting your food on a plate is a simple, non-diety way to practice eating a little bit more mindfully.
Check in with yourself
This doesn’t have to be a big thing, but make sure you’re taking moments throughout the holiday to ask yourself: how full am I? Have I been choosing foods mindfully? How am I feeling?
Tip 3: Add nutrient-dense foods when you can
“What Can I Add?”
Focusing on: “What nutritious foods can I add on my plate?” versus “Which foods should I avoid?” helps to keep your mindset in a good place when you’re making food decisions. The idea should be to add more healthy foods to your plate, not take away foods that you enjoy.
Prioritizing protein-rich foods like meat, fish, tofu, and legumes can help you feel full and satisfied so that you don’t overeat, especially when you’re surrounded by lots of carb-heavy dishes.
Adding fruits and veggies to your plates helps add fiber (and lots of nutrients too!) so that your hunger and fullness cues stay a little bit more stable. If it’s appropriate, don’t be afraid to bring a dish that aligns with your goals a little bit better. Something like my Kale Pomegranate Salad is a perfect holiday crowd-pleaser!
Tip 4: Mindful eating during the holidays doesn’t need to be perfect
The holiday season comes once each year. Sit down with your family, put your phone away and enjoy the special once a year dishes that you love. In the grand scheme of things, the holidays are only a handful of days over the entire year. It’s wonderful to add some mindfulness as you work on your health goals, but don’t forget to live your life too.
Finally— the world is not going to end because you just had a full plate of food and your Grandmother’s famous pie that you look forward to every single year. Holidays don’t need to be “all or nothing”. Enjoy your meal, enjoy your dessert, and move on! You have SO many opportunities each day to make food choices that align with your goals.
Happy Holidays 🙂
If you want more simple and attainable healthy eating tips, make sure to head over to @the.balanced.nutritionist on IG too!