Mindful eating during the holiday season

Miindful eating during the holidays
Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 5:27 PM CST
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) -The holiday season is here and the rush of parties and gatherings provides non-stop opportunities to fill up on all the foods that are often rich, sugary, and downright unhealthy.

Nina Struss RD, LD, Hy-Vee, stresses some important tips and tricks on how to stick with health and wellness goals even during the holidays by using the power of mindful eating.

Mindfulness when eating is key when it comes to moderation. Be aware of what you’re eating and how fast. Focus on your hunger and try to eat only when truly hungry, and stop when comfortably full. When you’re at the table, eat slowly and converse with those around you instead of quickly finishing your plate. Remember--there will always be leftovers, so there’s no need to stuff your face at one meal!

Other helpful tip:

  • Stick to routine: concentrate on normal eating and only indulge during a few instances of celebrations rather than a two-month binge.
  • Focus on eating healthfully and exercising. Remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Sticking to a healthy routine can help combat holiday stress and cravings.
  • Don’t restrict food choices. Restriction of any kind ultimately leads to binging and feelings of guilt. The holiday season is full of foods that are only available this time of year – so enjoy them! Allow yourself to indulge in portions of your holiday favorites, and remember that a few meals during this time of the year won’t ruin your health and wellness goal progress.
  • Focus on filling foods. Fiber in fruits and vegetables helps provide a filling, lower-calorie portion. Make sure to include at least a 3-ounce serving of protein (like turkey) at your meal and look for protein options like nuts and cheese for appetizers to help provide a feeling of satiety and avoid grazing throughout the day.
  • Pay close attention to portion sizes. Serving yourself larger portions than normal can encourage you to eat more, even if you would have been satisfied with a smaller amount. Eating too much can cause unpleasant side effects such as discomfort, drowsiness, heartburn and temporary feelings of being too hot or dizzy.
  • Move more and drink water: maintaining adequate hydration may help you feel fuller and make it easier for your body to break down food after the meal.
  • What are some suggested portion sizes (link to Seasons magazine article on topic): In general, a well-portioned plate would consist of 3 oz. of protein, such as turkey, ½ cup of mashed potatoes, ¼ cup of gravy, ½ cup of stuffing, ½ cup of green bean casserole and ¼ cup of cranberry sauce. If you have seconds, choose one food and stick to the portion size. For dessert, pick one slice of pie about the size of a light bulb. • If drinking alcohol, stick to one 12-oz. light beer, a 5-oz. glass of wine or 1.5-oz. of spirits.