Mindful Eating for the Holidays

Ready for less stress and more peace and joy this season? Mindfulness could be the key. Mindfulness involves being fully present in the moment and staying calm and centered with all of your senses engaged. If you’re trying to eat healthy at holiday gatherings, mindfulness strategies (such as those discussed below) can help you stay on track. In addition, they will also allow you to relax and fully enjoy the food you’re eating.

Top 5 Tips:

  • Potluck/buffet strategy: Before picking up a plate, walk around the entire table so you can view all of the food options. By taking the time to do this, you can be selective and focus on the foods you really enjoy. It also gives you time to consider how you will compose your plate in a balanced way. Then, when you’re ready, pick up a plate and serve up reasonable portion sizes of each food. Remember: you can always go back in a half hour and get a little more if you’re still hungry.
  • Sit down to eat: Avoid grazing—people tend to eat more when they’re standing around a table of food and eating without a plate – partly because they’re distracted with conversations and partly because it’s hard to keep track of how much you’re actually eating this way
  • Eating environment: Eat in a quiet, relaxed setting. If a gathering is noisy or chaotic, look for a quieter spot to sit and eat. Also, try to sit with family or friends who you feel relaxed and at ease with.
  • Slow down: Eat slowly, put your fork down occasionally and savor every bite. Engage all of your senses in the experience. Take the time to smell the aroma of the food before you take a bite. Chew slowly and notice the different textures in the food. Leave the food on your tongue a little longer and fully experience the taste of the food. When you slow it down, you can completely enjoy and prolong the experience of eating without eating too much.
  • Tune into your body: Periodically pause to check-in with how your body is feeling and to determine how full or hungry you actually are. And, wait 20 minutes or more after eating before grabbing another plate of food – it takes that long for your body to signal a feeling of fullness. This will help you prevent overeating…and a stomachache later!

Using these strategies will help you enjoy the pleasures of the season without overdoing it. Practice one or more of them this week. Happy holidays!

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