For some, the holidays might mean multiple family and friend gatherings with tons of rich food. For others, this time of year might be a stressful or even solitary time, where food can be a real comfort. No matter your situation, the question is the same: “How do I stay on track with healthy eating habits during the holiday season?”
Our advice is simple: the holidays should not be about deprivation, guilt, or gorging. While many individuals focus on getting through the holidays without overeating, in the process, they forget about other joys of the season.
Take the time to step away from holiday stress and hype and focus on self-care and mindful eating, instead.
To help you, here are 10 tips for staying positive and healthy this holiday season:
- Get a good night’s rest. If you can, sleep at least seven hours per night. The more rested you are, the more likely you are to be the happiest version of yourself (and the less likely you are to overindulge with food and drinks).
- Move your body or keep up your normal exercise routine – physical activity can help you avoid unwanted holiday pounds. Plus, it’s good for your mental and emotional health.
- Observe and listen to yourself and others with empathy and kindness. While the holidays can be a time of joy, there can also often be stressful moments, whether it’s trying to keep up with unrealistic expectations or ignoring some of your needs. Be patient with yourself and others.
- Eat a high protein or high fiber snack before you go to a gathering so you aren’t ravenous when you get to the refreshment table.
- Fill your plate with vegetables and fruits or other plant-based offerings before indulging in sweets.
- Savor and enjoy the taste of two or three bites of items such as cheese, fatty meats, or homemade special occasion sweets. Then, take a break and step away from the food table and focus on something else, such as talking to someone new.
- Skip fatty chips and any highly processed or packaged snacks, candy, or desserts – if it’s not special, just don’t eat it.
- Keep libations light by alternating alcoholic drinks with glasses of water.
- Sip slowly and savor your meals and party foods – mindful eating can be enjoyable and gives you the time to appreciate and relish in what you are eating.
- Reach out to others – socialize with new and old friends or family.
Let us know in the comments how you practice mindfulness over the holidays!