I love the holiday season, it's a great time to unwind and spend time with family and friends...usually around food. Who doesn't love that?
I am a true believer in balance, which means taking the time to enjoy the foods you love. The foods you love might be food that reminds you of loved ones, that represents family tradition, or for whatever reason holds a special place in your heart. Mindful eating can help you enjoy your favourite holiday foods without leaving you feeling guilty....or bloated!
What is mindful eating?
Mindful eating involves paying attention to the experience of eating and drinking. This includes paying attention to the texture, flavour, smell, colour, and appearance of the food. It also involves paying attention to your hunger and fullness cues, so essentially you are being fully present and paying attention to what you are eating (this can get difficult when you are sitting around holiday appetizers or desserts).
To help you navigate your next holiday party, I am sharing 5 holiday mindful eating tips with you. Give them a try and your next holiday meal.
5 Mindful Eating Tips:
1) Smaller plates - trick yourself
If there is the option to choose smaller plates, try that. We are visual eaters, meaning we will try to finish the food on our plates regardless of the size. Using a smaller plate is a great way to control portions but also help you listen to your hunger and fullness cues. After finishing your plate you can check in to assess whether or not you are still hungry.
2) Scan and select
Holiday parties typically have big spread of foods (appetizers, desserts, entrees, salads etc.), which often makes overeating REALLY easy. At your next holiday party try scanning before selecting. This involves scanning the food available and making a mental note of what you really want to eat and what you will pass on. Thinking about this before filling your plate is a great way to practice mindful eating and avoid taking too much (the saying is our eyes are bigger than our stomachs).
3) Take 80% of what you'd actually eat
When plating out your food take 80% of the amount you know you'd actually be able to finish. This means you are taking slightly less than the amount you want. Doing this is a great way to control your portions when you are having a big meal, but more importantly it helps you practice mindful eating. By thinking about taking only 80%, you are being aware of the foods you are selecting and how much. In addition, you likely won't miss the 20% of calories you didn't take.
4) Drink lots of water
Keeping hydrated is a good way to regulate hunger (you will likely feel less hungry) and it can help reduce bloating.
You can make your water fun by choosing sparkling water and adding some festive ingredients like pomegranate seeds and cranberries.
5) Avoid skipping meals
Getting to a big meal when you are super hungry can be dangerous. When we are really hungry we tend to 1) overeat, 2) make less healthy food choices.
I think we all know how dangerous grocery shopping can be when hungry. It works the same for holiday parties or big meals.
Tip: have a small snack 1-2 hours before heading out to your holiday party (e.g., nuts and a fruit, yogurt, smoothie etc.). This will ensure you are not super hungry when you arrive, therefore allowing you to practice your mindful eating tips.
Bonus tip: take the time to REALLY enjoy some of your favourites. Enjoy each bite, think about the flavour, texture, smell etc. as you eat or drink it. What's your holiday favourite?
Please let me know if you give these tips a try and whether or not they worked for you. I always love hearing from you!
Cheers to happy and healthy eating over the holidays. :)
Until next time,
Eat Right Feel Right - Angela XO