Mindful Eating for the Holidays
By: Jessy Griffel, RD, LD
We are fully engrossed in the holiday season and that guy in the red jacket is quickly approaching! Our holidays should be about enjoying friends, family and most importantly (well from a dietitian’s perspective) the FOOD! However, I am sure you have found yourself in a mental battle over all of the temptations of the holiday season goodies and not wanting to overdo it.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Americans gain approximately one to two pounds during the holiday season. This may not seem like a large amount, but this weight gain tends to stick with us over the years and accumulates quickly. However, these pounds from tempting holiday treats can be avoided through mindful eating and moderation.
Here are a few tips to help you stay on track this holiday season:
- Do not skip meals! In preparation for our big holiday meals people often decide to skip meals to make room for their big feast. This often results in overeating and the dreaded ‘food baby.’ Start your day off with a breakfast full of fiber rich food such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains to keep you satisfied until your big holiday meal. It is also great to snack on a few of these nutrient dense food while preparing your holiday meal.
- Portion size. Being mindful about your portion sizes this holiday season will also help you keep those extra pounds off. When going through the buffet-style line, choose a smaller plate, take smaller portions and be sure to add nutrient-rich foods to your plate first (i.e. fruits, vegetables and whole grains) before indulging in grandmas famous holiday cookies.
- Everything in moderation. This tip ties in well with the portion size. It is perfectly ok to have that cookie or piece of pumpkin pie, but probably not the entire pie! If you are too full from dinner it is ok to save your desserts for a few hours later.
- Slow down. We often eat too fast and we bypass our satiety signals and end up overeating at holiday meals. When you sit down for you meal, savor every single bite! Stay in tune with the flavor, aroma and the experience of this meal, because it is important to take it all in. After you finish and before you run up for a second or third helping, take a 10 minutes to listen to your body and see if you are still actually hungry for more.
- Get moving. Take those kiddos for a short walk or even a snowball fight after your big feast. Any type of physical activity will help you digest and prevent feeling sluggish.
Most importantly, enjoy this time with your loved ones. Never feel guilty about over indulging at your holiday meals, because we are not always perfect! Of course, taking some of these tips to heart can very well prevent you from overeating this holiday season.
Article referenced: http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/lifestyle/holidays/a-healthy-approach-to-holiday-eating