Mindful Eating Can Help You Enjoy the Holidays

Santa-shaped sugar cookies, creamy kugels and casseroles, and roast meats galore — they’re all delicious…perhaps too much so! If you’re worried about overeating or making unhealthy food choices at festive gatherings, there’s plenty you can do to savor the season without destroying your healthy diet. For starters, before parties, eat a healthy snack beforehand so that you don’t arrive feeling overly hungry. Limit alcohol intake, too, since alcohol stimulates eating. Another tactic worth trying over the holidays – and beyond – is mindful eating. When we eat without thinking about our meal, as often happens at holiday buffets or cocktail parties, we have a tendency to gulp down our food without paying attention to signs of hunger or fullness. Mindful eating allows us to pay attention to our body’s cues, savor our food, and know when to start and stop eating. To practice mindful eating, start by recognizing different levels of hunger. Before every meal, the ideal is to have an appetite but not to feel ravenous. Pause before your first bite to appreciate the food. As you eat — slowly, putting your utensils down between bites — pay attention to the textures, aromas, and flavors of your food. Throughout the meal, check in with yourself: How do you feel? Are you enjoying your food? How much more do you need to feel comfortably full? By becoming more aware of what you’re eating and tuning in to your body’s hunger cues, you may find that you eat less and enjoy more.

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