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Be Merry & Mindful This Holiday Season

The best Holiday memories are those we remember years down the road. They are the ones we remember where we were, who we were with, and let's face it, how delicious that pie was. On the bright side, we need these moments in our lives to keep us happy which in turn keeps us healthy. On the down side, if we aren't cognizant of our actions, it can affect our long-term health. There is a balance to achieve during the Holidays that can protect our health AND keep us happy. Here are 6 mindful eating tips to practice this Holiday season:

1. Give Yourself Permission To Eat Your Favorites

This may seem a little odd, but the majority of the time our Holiday favorites are only served once a year. Internally give yourself permission to eat your favorites. When you tell yourself, "I can't have that, it's too fattening" but you can't stop thinking about it, you will try to fill that void with something else. For example, if you don't let yourself eat a piece of pecan pie, you will either (a) find something else and eat too much of it or (b) eventually give into your craving and eat the entire pie. Before the big dinner with the family, tell yourself it's okay to eat your favorites. Let's face it, it only comes once a year, so enjoy it!

2. Take a Walk

Schedule a walk in daily. If it's snowing outside, even a short burst of 15 minutes can help. You can also drive to your nearest store or mall and take a 30 minute walk there. Aim for 30-60 minutes. This is enough to get your heart rate up and burn about 150-300 calories depending on intensity. Bundle up and take a walk at night; it's the best time to see all the fun Christmas lights in the neighborhood (great for kids to join, too)!

3. Step Away From The Food Table

If you catch yourself standing by the food table and refilling your plate multiple times, then it's time to step away. If you are hosting the party, make sure there are plenty of games or activities to keep guests interested. Rule of thumb, grab one plate of food (and enjoy it!) then walk away and find a guest to talk to or activity to participate in. Great activities include scavenger hunts, White Elephant gift exchanges, or even simple card games.

4. Use Smaller Plates

This is a great tool to help keep your portions under control. Just remember to avoid "piling high" and keep track of how many times you refill it. You can even use a salad plate at dinner if you wish!

5. Taste The Food

Savor each bite. Once again, this time comes once a year, so make it count! You can do this by simply chewing your food at least 30 times. Keeping food in your mouth longer helps you savor the tastes and textures. Eating slower also gives your gut more time to send fullness cues to the brain, which helps avoid overindulgence.

6. Give Non-Food Gifts

Chocolate, cookie plates, cheese and sausage, you name it. Food is easy and affordable to give as a gift. It's okay to do this, again most of these foods only come once a year, but consider giving non-food gifts as well! Homemade ornaments, mason jar candles, pictures in fun frames, books, makeup, or even a small shaving kit for men are good ideas. Branch out and make something they will be able to keep forever.

Start thinking about your health goals now!

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Just like any good food, there is a recipe to follow. Remember this Recipe for Mindful Eating when thinking of simple ways to practice mindful eating this Holiday season.

Looking for more mindful eating tips? Check this article out!

Happy Holidays!

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