Holidays are a wonderful time of year for many people, but may also be a stressful time for some when it comes to eating.
Many of us struggle with feeling out of control around food, overeating, or anxiety eating food they don’t usually have.
Here are my top 10 tips for eating during the holidays:
- Don’t skip meals to “save room” for dinner. Skipping a meal with the goal of ‘saving calories’ for an upcoming large event can often lead us to overeating due to increased feelings of hunger, or overeating later in the day.
- It is normal to indulge and eat a little more than usual. Accepting this and realizing that this is normal, can help dull any feelings of guilt or “I shouldn’t have”.
- Slow down. Take your time to enjoy your food. We tend to eat more when we eat really quickly- there is a lag time between the food hitting our stomach to when it signals to our brain that we have had enough. Slowing down can allow our brain to ‘catch up’ so we are more in tune with our fullness cues.
- Avoid grazing. We tend to feel more full and satisfied when we sit down to a well-balanced meal. When we graze, we tend to not get that same fullness effect and can actually lead to overeating or feelings of uncertainty about how much we have eaten.
- Bring a food item to the party that feels “safe”. This could look like a fruit salad for dessert or a veggie platter. This may help to reduce some anxiety around what foods will be offered at the gathering.
- Once the meal is finished, try to move to a non-food-based activity. This could look like playing games, opening presents, or going for a walk.
- Think colour. Make your plate look colourful by adding lots of fruits and vegetables. We get different nutrients from different colours found in food. Try to cover half your plate with veggies. They are loaded with fibre and are an important part of a balanced meal.
- It is okay to say “No, thank you” when you feel you’ve had enough. Many people show their love through repeatedly offering food or encouraging people to eat more. However, it is more important to listen to your body and to respectfully decline if you feel you have had enough to eat. It is also okay to not finish everything on your plate.
- Try and avoid conversation around weight or dieting. Conversations around these topics can feel very triggering for many people and can lead to unhealthy eating patterns (such as restricting).
- If you are hosting an event over the holidays, accept offers from your guests to bring food dishes to help distribute the amount of work. This can help relieve pressure from cooking and preparing everything yourself.
Wishing you all a very Happy Holidays!
Written by: Heather Noble, RD