By Kailee Meskimen
As the holiday season comes into full swing, our awareness of healthy habits is clouded by an endless succession of tantalizing treats: creamy spiced eggnog, boats full of gravy, piles of mashed potatoes and slices of pie. An abundance of shared food is a given at holiday gatherings, but eating it consciously and still celebrating the bounty doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
Rather than depriving yourself of festive food and drink or feeling guiltily about over-indulging, stick to these five simple tips during holiday celebrations to keep ravenous behavior at bay and fully enjoy each bite.
- Use smaller plates. By serving food on a down-sized plate, you eat less while still feeling the psychological satisfaction of a full plate. If the option is available, opt for mini versions of food, like our Vegan Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Pies or Smoked Salmon Bruschetta. That way, you can satisfy your cravings on a smaller, healthier scale.
- Feast with your eyes before serving yourself. Your eyes are often bigger than your stomach. By browsing through the array of foods on display, you can make a conscious effort to accept more of the healthier options available — and select your indulgences wisely. Start with lighter fare like Vegan Wheatberry Salad or Cardamom Citrus Fruit Salad the first round, then go back for heartier dishes like Scalloped Potatoes or Rosemary Sweet Potato Risotto.
- Eat mindfully. Stop and smell the roses, or in this case, the heavenly aromas of all of the freshly prepared eats. We are not merely gas tanks waiting to be filled, so avoid mindlessly eating. Tune in to the texture, smell, taste and flavor of each delicious bite. Appreciate the experience, slow down and savor the nuances of each nibble.
- Finish your meal satisfied, not stuffed. Eating doesn’t have to end with your pants unbuttoned and a two-hour nap. When you feel content, scoot your chair back, put your napkin across your plate, excuse yourself from the table — whatever it takes to let your body know you are satisfied.
- Be present. Take in the atmosphere around you — the kids laughing, the dog begging for scraps and the clinks of ice against the punch bowl. Now is the time to be grateful. Take a step back, take a deep breath and soak in the gratitude you have for the food on the table and — most importantly — the people sharing it with you.
What helps you eat mindfully at the holidays?
About the author: Kailee Meskimen is a content management specialist for Frontier, Simply Organic and Aura Cacia — allowing her to immerse herself in the world of organic living every day. In her free time, she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, going for long walks with her dog and traveling the world.