In this blog, we offer sensible suggestions and tips to help you navigate the holidays with some powerful strategies for maintaining your healthy eating habits. It can be difficult, even stressful, to maintain healthy habits during the holidays. Family-favorite holiday recipes tend to be full of “unhealthy” things such as salt, saturated fats, sugar, and many other ingredients that can sabotage your healthy eating habits.
10 mindful holiday eating tips to help you navigate the holiday season
Worried About Wrecking Your Good Habits?
You are not alone. This year, try adding “mindful eating” to your strategy. Being more mindful about eating, plus a little planning and strategy can make a huge difference. To help you face the holidays with confidence and maintain the healthy eating habits you have worked so hard to maintain, here are 10 Mindful Holiday Eating Tips:
10 Mindful Holiday Eating Tips
- Create Your Holiday-Proof Plan – Having a strategy for your holiday eating helps you navigate holiday eating with ease and less stress. Think through your holiday plans ahead of time. A few helpful strategies include: avoid skipping meals to make room for eating more; healthy protein snacks before a holiday meal helps curb your appetite; stay hydrated, and bring your own healthy nibbles if you think they will be in short supply. Think through your own personal strategy for success. Taking a few simple steps to plan makes a big difference.
- Have Less but Savor More – Don’t deny your favorite foods. There’s no reason to completely cut out your favorite aunt’s scrumptious pie or your mom’s decadent side dish. Enjoy smaller portions, but try a new tactic: slow down and savor every bite. Take your time. Chew slowly and really savor the flavors. Think it sounds silly? Read Benefits of Eating Your Food Slowly by our friends at VeryWellFit.com.
- Balance Your Plate – While grandma’s tried and true family-favorite recipes are very tempting and delicious, remember to enjoy ALL the food groups; have smaller portions of your favorite holiday dishes, then load up your plate with extra healthy greens and whole grains for a balanced approach to holiday eating. If you think healthy options will be scarce, offer to bring a healthy dish to share!
- Makeover Holiday Dishes – Make baked goods healthier by replacing butter and oils with unsweetened applesauce or ripe bananas. There are many helpful resources for making over your favorite dishes to reduce salt, fat, and sugar and increase fiber. Here is a quick guide from the Mayo Clinic to help your favorite recipes a bit more healthy.
- Cheers to Your Good Health – Alcoholic beverages, especially holiday drinks like eggnog, are loaded with calories, fat, and sugar. Gravitate towards lower-calorie and sugar-free options such as flavored seltzer waters. A good strategy is to enjoy a glass of water or seltzer water with a splash of fresh-squeezed juice like lemon or lime in between drinks. Also, avoid having alcohol on an empty stomach. It sabotages your best-laid plans.
- Pause Before Having Seconds – Take a few minutes to pause before adding second helpings to your plate. It takes several minutes for your stomach to reach that “full” feeling. Although it is super tempting to have a second helping of your favorite foods, perhaps a glass of water will help you feel full and make it easier to say “no” instead.
- Focus on Fun Activities – Shift the focus from food to enjoying fun activities and games with family and friends. Start a new holiday tradition of participating in a fun activity during your holiday gatherings. Play charades, organize a group yoga session, put together a flag football team, a volleyball game, a bike ride, or sign up for a 5K Run/Walk for charity! Take the initiative to introduce healthy activities as a new fun holiday tradition.
- Remember to Move It, Move It! – Can’t squeeze your full workout in? Go out for several short walks or exercise in short spurts, more frequently throughout the day if doing your full workout will be difficult. Ten minutes of exercise several times during the day is so much better than no exercise at all.
- Be nice to Yourself – Stress and burnout are common factors that lead to overeating during the holidays. If there’s ever been a year when you could point to stress as the culprit, this is it! It happens. If you’ve overdone it, relax. Take some deep breaths. Forgive yourself. Make a mental note of where you could have done better with your holiday eating strategy, then go for an extra walk, or do some gentle yoga and let it go.
- Get Plenty of Zzzz’s – Getting enough sleep is always essential to your health. It keeps your mind sharp and your immune system in top-notch condition. When you have adequate rest, it is so much easier to think clearly and make better decisions.
Thank you for reading our blog 10 Mindful Holiday Eating Tips. We hope you found some helpful strategies. We’d love to hear your ideas for healthy eating during the holidays. Please share your ideas with us on social media
Beyond 10 Mindful Holiday Eating Tips:
Want more info on healthy eating tips to help you navigate holiday eating? Here are a few articles that are worth reading:
5 Healthy Eating Tips for the Holidays from the CDC for people with diabetes
12 Tips for Holiday Eating from Harvard Health Blog
Dealing with Holiday Stress That Can Lead to Overeating by VeryWellFit.com
58 Science-Based Mindful Eating Exercises and Tips by PositivePsychology.com
In case you missed it, here is our blog on 5 Superfoods to Eat Right Now. These are wonderful foods to work into your eating plan any time of the year.