Honoring your healthy lifestyle during the holidays doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the company of friends and family. Just make a few mindful modifications. First things first, before going in for another helping ask yourself, why are you eating? The answer to this question will help you recognize whether you are actually hungry, eating because of boredom, or simply because it is available. True hunger signals include fatigue, a growling stomach, or shakiness. Next up, ask yourself what you feel like eating and if you can make a healthy version. View food preparation as an important process toward a healthier lifestyle rather than a chore. Perhaps you can bring a healthy dish to substitute for the extra creamy and calorie-laden macaroni and cheese! Consider using winter harvest veggies like Brussels sprouts and leek, they are chock-full of fiber and easy to prepare.
Next up, start thinking about where you want to have your mealtime. Create a pleasurable meal environment. Simple things like setting the table and listening to music will minimize any distraction. This can be fun during the holiday! Consider settling the table with garland and festive tableware! Lastly ask yourself, how full do you want to feel after eating your meal? Try this, halfway through the meal, stop and reassess your satisfaction. Relax and enjoy the effort you and your loved ones invested in preparing your meal. Be thankful for the time you have set aside to dine as well as the company with whom you are sharing the meal. Practicing these steps allows you to enjoy the act of dining, while recognizing the difference between physical hunger and mental hunger!