‘Tis the season for holiday parties, which means a multitude of opportunities to eat, drink and be merry! For many people, it can be hard to stick to a healthy diet during the holidays because you have access to some of your favorite foods you only get to eat once a year. Unfortunately, many of these holiday foods also don’t have many health benefits – but that doesn’t mean you can’t have them or enjoy them in moderation. Keep reading to learn how to be mindful of what your putting in your mouth this season.
Posted by the American Heart Association
This Holiday Season, Eat Mindful, Not Mindless
Mindless eating is consuming food just because it’s there. It’s eating while distracted – watching TV, working at a computer or texting on our smartphones. It’s eating for emotional comfort instead of for hunger. Simply put, it’s not paying attention to what we eat which can lead to being overweight and even obesity.
“Mindless eating has always been an issue,” said Riska Platt, M.S., a registered dietitian and certified nutritionist for the Cardiac Rehabilitation Center at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York. “The key to mindful eating is awareness. Just by paying more attention to what you eat, you’re more likely to make beneficial changes.”
When you pay attention to what you’re eating, you can make small changes that make a big difference. Here are some tips toward a more mindful approach:
- Control portions. Especially during the holidays, know that you’ll have more opportunities to eat festive snacks and desserts. You don’t have to deprive yourself, just eat smaller portions and less often.
- Eat when you’re hungry. Just because the clock says noon doesn’t mean you have to eat. If you’re not hungry, wait until you are – just don’t wait until you’re famished because you might overeat. Also, don’t eat just because the food is available. Learn more about why you might be eating when not hungry.
- Plan. Prepare healthy snacks throughout the day. If you tend to get hungry between meals, bring along a 200-calorie, whole grain, high-fiber snack. Fiber keeps you feeling full longer. Learn how a little planning helps your heart, and your budget.
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So, you can have your fruitcake and eat it too! Okay, maybe not fruitcake, but whatever dish or dessert you look forward to during the holiday season. Just be mindful of what you’re putting in your mouth, aware of when you’re eating, why, and planning ahead. Healthy habits will lead to a healthy lifestyle.
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