How To Balance Your Meals During The Holiday Season

“The Holidays” rings in number of feelings and emotions. Joy, excitement, and love can be mixed in with stress and exhaustion. Between gift giving, party planning, and possible travel, getting caught up in the whirlwind of festivities can sometimes make us forget about ourselves. For some of my clients who are just starting to get their feet wet with mindful eating, the holidays can be a challenge with all of these activities happening at once. But challenges are good because they help us become more in tune with our bodies.

So take a breath and check out my tips on mindful eating during a holiday party:

Stacy K. Leung Dietitian Holiday Party

Survey the land

It can be overwhelming when you’re at a holiday party and there are a lot of dishes to choose from. My best strategy to combat this potluck dilemma is to take a look at what’s on the table first before serving yourself. When you look before serving, you can ask yourself what you’d really like to eat and what you’d find joy in having. You also won’t end up with a lot excess food that you may not want to eat but feel obligated to finish.

Second helpings

Going along with the above tip, serve yourself smaller portions than you ordinarily would. This way, you can taste more dishes and minimize overeating. When you’re done with the first plate, mingle a little with your friends and family before heading back for seconds. This will give you time to digest and see how hungry you still are. Seconds are not forbidden when you are still hungry! But if you know you’re full and still want more, know that’s fine too - just take a smaller serving than you did the first time to help satisfy the craving.

The other meals

Take advantage of the “normal” days when there are no parties or festivities to eat well. Try to include more fruits and vegetables with your meals and snacks because these are the foods that we typically do not get enough of at parties. If you can, also try to minimize eating out by cooking more at home and saving the more indulgent foods like sweets and junk food for party time.

Let loose and be flexible

Sometimes all these tips become “rules” and they can become hard to live by. Understand that rules are meant to be broken and tips are guidelines. If you let your eyes take the lead when serving your plate or when you forget to check in with yourself because you’re having fun, don’t fret. There will be plenty of other times to practice mindful eating (like the next meal!). Instead, think positively about the situatio--like how much you enjoyed speaking to your friends and how the meal was delicious.

Remember, having fun is what it’s all about this time of year.