December Nutrition: Stress-Free Holiday Eating

How to Have a Stress-Free Holiday Eating Experience

Kim Albritton, MS, RDN, LDN

1.) Place nothing off limits. When a food is off limits it becomes MUCH more appealing. Give yourself permission to get pleasure from food.  Food is supposed to be fun, not stressful.

2) Don’t ever go to a cocktail party or arrive at a holiday dinner absolutely starving or empty handed. Do not try to “save up” all day before a big holiday meal or cocktail party to try to cancel out the calories that you will be consuming that evening. Going to a holiday party or dinner starved is a sure fire way to make bad decisions and consume too much, ending up uncomfortably full. Before the holiday event, prepare a healthful food option to bring with you that allows you to have a go-to food item no matter what will be available.

3) Assess which indulgences are really worth it and stay checked in while you eat. When you arrive at a party or buffet-style dinner), do a lap and check out your options. Then, ask yourself whether the food or drink that you’re considering enjoying is something that will be really worth it.  And if it’s not a priority item…leave it where it is. Also be very careful about liquid calories.  Don’t drink anything with calories. And be extra careful with those alcoholic beverages.  Mixed drinks can be disastrous if using sugar filled juices to your drink.  Always follow up your alcoholic beverage with a glass of water before you drink another alcoholic beverage.

4) Stop when you are satisfied, not overfull. Be mindful when eating.  Eat slowly and as you are eating (or drinking), take frequent pauses.  If you’re eating something really delicious, it’s even more important to slow down, so that you are fully experiencing it! If you really want more of anything, you can always go back for more, but sit and wait it out to give your body a chance to catch up.  Ask yourself if you are satisfied…if you are…stop eating before you get full or over full!

5) Finally, if you do overindulge – forgive yourself. There’s no point beating yourself up for something that has already happened. Learn from the experience, and take that knowledge as a reminder to be more mindful next time. You’ve got this!