Mindfulness encompasses the ability to give attention to what is happening while it is happening. The holidays are a time for us to take a break from our day-to-day and focus on friends and family.

Many people struggle with their relationships with food throughout the holidays, which creates additional stress related to social gatherings. Using tools that enhance nutrition mindfulness can help you enjoy food without feeling guilty or pressured during holiday social engagements.  Mindful eating is not about denying food, but instead, it is all about enjoying whatever we eat. The Health Promotion team suggests three easy tips to practice mindful nutrition throughout the holidays.

  1. Slow down and enjoy your food. Sit down and look at the food in front of you, enjoy the flavors before swallowing or taking a bite of food. The idea is to recognize your conscious choice to eat pie or a cookie and enjoy it without guilt. Guilt usually leads to forgoing self-control and then binge eating.
  2. Prepare for social distractions. Social interactions lead to distractions and take the focus away from what you’re consuming. People eat and drink more when they are around others. Being prepared for the social distractions means having a game plan including alternating drinking alcohol with water and sitting down while eating.
  3. Do not skip meals. Skipping meals increases the risk of binge eating, leading to the least healthy, higher sugar content, food choices. If you feel you need to regulate your intake, use food logs or calorie trackers. There are a variety of free calorie trackers available to include printable paper journals.

Implementing basic mindfulness tools to improve your nutrition quality throughout the holidays can help you avoid psychological pitfalls. The bottom line is to eat in moderation and continue engaging in physical activity during the holidays to offset the negative emotional and physical impact of distracted eating behaviors associated with anxiety, overeating, and weight gain. For more information on being healthy throughout the holidays, contact your local Health Promotion office.

Holiday Survival Kit