Mindful Holiday Eating

Holiday Dinner TableBy Dawna Bennett, MS, RD, CDN

It’s the holiday season and with countless parties and family gatherings, it is easy to overindulge on tempting food and adult beverages. But it is possible to enjoy the holidays and special treats while still maintaining control. The best bet to overcome these delicious temptations is to prepare yourself before the feasting begins.

Here are a few tips to help you make healthier food choices this holiday season:

• Begin your day as any other day and don’t skip meals.
• Set an intention for how you would like to feel after the meal and hold yourself accountable by sharing with a close friend or family member, or writing it down in a food journal.
• Plan an activity to look forward to after the meal—a group walk, visiting with other friends or family, a group game, or playing with younger family members.
• Eat a protein-packed snack an hour before your holiday meal.
• Do not think of the holidays as an excuse to eat unhealthy foods. Plan in advance to make sure there are options available that you can enjoy.
• Scan the feast before putting anything on your plate. Choose wisely!
• Start the meal with a soup, fresh vegetables, or a salad, and avoid any refined flour pastries or sweet appetizers.
• Drink two glasses of water with lemon before the meal.
• Offer to clean up and help your host!

Eat mindfully to prevent overindulging:

• Take five deep breaths before your meal.
• Sit next to someone you genuinely find interesting and engage in pleasant conversation.
• Savor the flavors and aromas of your food.
• Chew thoroughly and slowly.
• Put your fork down between bites.
• Halfway through the meal, put your fork down and pause. Take three deep breaths and assess your hunger on a scale of one to 10. Ask yourself how much more you need to eat in order to walk away feeling energized and comfortable.
• Have a trusted friend or family help hold you accountable to your goals.
• Most importantly, take time to enjoy healthy, wholesome meals with friends and family.

From all of us at Meals on Wheels for Western New York, we wish you the happiest and healthiest of holiday celebrations. Cheers!