Healthy Holidays: Mindful Eating

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The Holiday season doesn’t have to mean weight gain or strict restraint; there is a way to keep this holiday enjoyable and healthy. The holidays are a time to spend with friends and loved ones, and taking the main focus off of food and placing it on the time you spend together can help you avoid overeating. Practicing mindful eating during the holidays and throughout the year gives you the chance to enjoy the food you eat without feeling uncomfortable full or like you’re missing out on the foods you love.

During the holidays, there are many opportunities to indulge in a special treat, and it’s good to appreciate that part of the season, but it doesn’t mean you have to overeat. To help set yourself up for success this year, try to follow some of these practices:

  • At work parties –
    • Be picky! Consider all your options and pick out the special items you don’t get to eat every day. For example, choose your coworker’s homemade cookies rather than the store-bought donuts that you can have any week.
  • At holiday parties –
    • Don’t camp out by the food, walk around and socialize. It’s easy to overeat when the food is sitting in front of you.
    • Be mindful of your alcohol consumption, since you’re more likely to eat more after a few drinks.
  • At the holiday meal –
    • Eat regular balanced meals leading up to your dinner. Starving yourself will only encourage you to eat more since you’ll arrive at dinner hungry and focused on little other than the food.
    • Start with small portions – you can always go back for seconds!
    • Stop when you are comfortable – you don’t need to eat until you feel stuffed or until your plate is clean. There will probably be plenty of leftovers for you to enjoy when you’re hungry again!
    • Stay Hydrated

Remembering the original intent of the holiday is a great way to start the day, and might even make it a more satisfying day as we shift the focus to some of the non-food aspects of the holiday. If you do overeat, don’t feel guilty and don’t give up on eating healthy at your next meal or snack. Think of every day as a fresh start to make healthy choices.

Cone Health understands the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle to increase and ensure overall well-being and has an exceptional team of dietitians, physicians, nurses and other related healthcare providers dedicated to educating our community on proper nutrition and other beneficial lifestyle choices.

Spokesperson Background:

Laura Watson is a registered dietician specializing in pediatric nutrition at the Cone Health Nutrition and Diabetes Management Center. Laura received a Bachelor of Science in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2007 and earned a Master of Science in nutrition from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2009.