This holiday season, stay healthy by implementing my 11 Tips for Mindful Eating during the Holidays.
The holiday season is officially here which means holiday food is too! It is a time of food focused get-togethers, lots of sweet treats and often lots of drinks as well! With all the good food and social gatherings, it is easy to overeat, overindulge and then feel guilty about it. But not this year. Instead lets enjoy ourselves eating good food in a mindful way.
In the past for me, the holiday season would start with Halloween and too much Halloween candy. Then it would go straight to lots of thanksgiving get-togethers and over-eating and drinking. But 3 years ago as I beame more mindful of my holiday eating habits, things changed.
The key is being mindful, aware and enjoying food in a balanced responsible way. I can honestly say that it is possible to eat the things you love during the holidays without overdoing it. And it’s all about being mindful and doing the best you can.
I feel like so many healthy eating sites and magazine articles tell us how to avoid this and deny ourselves that around the holidays – turning situations that should be fun into stressful internal battles of will. This is not a recipe for balanced eating or enjoyment.
So today I’m sharing the tips that work for me. This list is not a secret weapon for weight loss or diets or anything of the sort. Instead they are ways that help me stay mindful and feeling good even when surrounded holiday food.
So whether you’re looking to get a head start on New Year’s resolutions or simply want avoid food commas, here are my 11 Tips for Mindful Eating during the Holidays:
1. MUNCH ON HEALTHY UNPROCESSED SNACKS
This is the most important thing for me! I am a big snacker and having Christmas cookies or holiday food everywhere is dangerous. So I stock my fridge and pantry with healthy snacks, and cut out processed foods as much as possible. By doing this, I stay energetic and satisfied all day without the need to overindulge.
Here are my favorite wholesome munchies (Since I always crave sweets, most of my snack food is on the sweeter side):
- Soaked almonds and walnuts with dried fruit and cocoa nibs
- Extra dark chocolate
- Dark hot chocolate with almond milk
- Apples with nutbutter
- Green smoothies
- Breakfast cookies
- Yogurt with granola
- Hummus with veggies or pita chips
2. EAT A PROTEIN RICH BREAKFAST & A SOUP/SALAD LUNCH
I try to apply this rule year around but am especially mindful of it during the holidays. It so important to start the day off with 2 well rounded meals that provide protein, fiber and nutrients so that your body is well fed, energetic and satiated. Plus this way you can enjoy holiday food and stay balanced.
For breakfast I strive for something natural that is packed protein and fiber. And then for lunch it’s about veggise, grain or/bean heavy salads or soups. Trust me, starting your day with 2 solid meals not only makes you feel great but also helps you to not overeat or feeling guilty.
Some of my favorite holiday lunches:
- Asparagus Farro Salad
- Fall Tabbouleh
- Veggie Quinoa Chili
- Mediterranean quinoa salad
- Ribollita Soup
- Veggie Cobb
- Nourish bowl
3. CREATE NON-FOOD TRADITIONS
In my family most activities revolve around food. My family loves food and I am a food blogger after all. But now that I have my own family, we have started some non-food traditions to enjoy each other’s company without the need to gorge on food all the time. Our favorite new traditions include family hikes, hot chocolate lake walks and movie/pillow fort nights.
Other fun options could be get together with girlfriends, baking for friends and family, going to a movie, go ing for a stroll with a mug of coffee or checking out a local Christmas event. Get creative and active, there are a lot more ways to celebrate the holidays that do not include eating.
4. MONITOR YOUR ALCOHOL INTAKE
I know I know… this one seems lame. With the stress of gift giving, scheduling get-togethers and maybe even hosting, we all deserve a glass of wine or 3. But here is the deal, try not to avoid overdoing it. Being mindful about food is not worth it if you are not mindful about drinks. Plus a drink is often times the equivalent of dessert. There are 2 strategies I like to think about when it comes to drinking at holiday events:
- Give yourself a limit of 1 or 2 drinks. And sip on non-alcoholic beverages like sparkling water during the rest of the time.
- Swap 1 drink for a sweet treat. This means instead of drinking 2 glasses of wine, I will drink just 1 glass a wine with dinner and have an extra cookie instead. To me an extra cookie is normally way better than a drink! Side note: people might assume you are pregnant but whatever!
5. SHARE IS CARING
This is probably my favorite holiday and vacation tip. Sharing foods is a fun way to try lots of holiday foods without overindulging. Share a piece of cake with your sweetie or cut that slice of pie in half on the buffet table. Don’t worry someone is bound to eat the other half. Plus if you really truly want more, you can always go back for more.
6. SIP ON WARM TEA
In the winter a hot sugary starbucks coffee or hot chocolate beverage sounds amazing! But drinking sugary drinks or caffeine all day is not the best for you. So instead sip on a nice cup of tea. Splurge a little, shop around and find your absolute favorite tea.
Tea is relaxing, soothing and helps curve late night snack attacks or stress eating too. My tactic with drinking tea is to find one or several that I truly love and then make it the best way I can. For me this means chai or green teas served piping hot with a quarter cup of almond milk and a tiny drizzle of honey (or my fav Chai Pumpkin Latte). Tea is my drink of choice after a long stressful day and almost always helps me unwind and avoid munching on random Christmas cookies.
7. INDULGE WITH SMALLER PORTIONS
It’s the holidays you guys, let’s be realistic. There will be cookies and cakes and lots of butter and fat and bacon and heavy cream all the time. And honestly you deserve to try it all and have a good time. Don’t kid yourself thinking you will not eat this or that. Instead find the foods you truly love and opt for smaller portions. Maybe you can’t live without stuffing and mashed potato and turkey but don’t care much for the green bean casserole or bread. Start with a small portion of your must-haves. If you are still hungry have a little bit more.
8. FIND WAYS TO DE-STRESS THAT DO NOT INVOLVE FOOD
Read a book in bed by yourself with some tea and soothing music. Do your nails and try out a fun face mask. Give the kids to your hubs and run a bubble bath for yourself. Get a sitter and go out for a movie and beer with your honey. Yes the holidays is about the family and kids but it is also about you! Don’t forget about you! The holidays can be notoriously stressful so make some time for yourself. You deserve it.
9. BRING A HEALTHY DISH TO PARTIES
It is hard to find something healthy or nutritious sometimes at parties. So why not contribute a healthy dish to ensure there’s something you can indulge in. And I’m not talking carrots and celery. Pick an appetizer or side is both delicious and wholesome. This way you can enjoy your next get-together by having some of the not-so-great for you food plus a bit of your own.
Some of my favorites include my Mediterranean quinoa salad, asparagus farro salad, roasted nuts, eggplant dip, hummus with veggies, and fruit platters. Here is a great list.
10. EAT WHAT YOU LOVE, LEAVE WHAT YOU DON’T
When you arrive at a party (or buffet-style dinner), first, do a lap – what’s there? What are the things you really really want to try? This does not at all mean that guilt should come into the equation or that we should be assessing options based on calories. Rather, eat the things you are excited about and leave the rest. Maybe Eggnog or mashed potatoes are not your thing. Skip it! Go for the things you love like that turkey or that pumpkin pie.
11. ENJOY YOURSELF AND FORGET THE GUILT
This is the most important thing to remember: it’s the holidays, don’t beat yourself up about a few extra treats or cup of eggnog! Just try to stay mindful, active and have a good time. Just remember – “Be gentle to yourself, you are doing the best you can.”
Have a fabulous Thanksgiving week everyone 🙂