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Wellness@Work: How to eat mindfully during the holidays 

How to eat mindfully during the holidays

By Michelle Ryan
mryan@health.southalabama.edu

With the holidays comes the inevitable slate of holiday meals and parties. But that doesn’t mean you have to assume you’ll overeat. Eating mindfully can help you enjoy your meals while staying in tune with your body's hunger and fullness cues. Here are some tips: 

  • Savor each bite. Take the time to savor the flavors and textures of the food. Appreciate the effort that went into preparing the dishes and the pleasure of the dining experience. 
  • Manage stress. Use mindful breathing or meditation to help manage stress, which can impact your eating habits during the holidays. 
  • Stay hydrated. Drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated, as thirst can sometimes be mistaken for hunger. 
  • Survey the spread. Before filling your plate, take a moment to survey all the available food options. This allows you to make mindful choices about what and how much to eat.
  • Control portions. Opt for smaller portions of various dishes to taste a little bit of everything without overindulging.
  • Engage in conversation. While eating, engage in conversation and put your fork down between bites. This slows down your eating pace and encourages mindful enjoyment of the meal.
  • Stay attuned to fullness. Check in with your body throughout the meal. Pause periodically to assess your hunger and fullness levels, and stop eating when you feel satisfied.
  • Use moderation. It's okay to indulge in holiday treats, just do so in moderation and with awareness of the enjoyment they bring.   

By being mindful about eating during the holidays, you can fully participate in the season’s celebrations while maintaining a balanced approach to food and well-being. 

About the author: Michelle Ryan, an E-RYT 200 yoga instructor, works as a marketing specialist for USA Health.

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