Our healthy eating habits are put to the ultimate test during the holiday season. With so many Christmas parties on the calendar and dinners to attend, it can be difficult navigating the seemingly infinite buffet spreads. In an effort to help us stay on track with our health goals, Jennie Miremadi is here to share her seven tips to avoid overeating at holiday meals. As an integrative clinical nutritionist and wellness coach, Jennie’s practice focuses on real wellness and lasting change – no diets, no deprivation. Her simple mindful eating habits will ensure that we leave the table completely satisfied but not overly full at all the family gatherings we’ve got on the agenda over the coming weeks.
Tip #1: Eat breakfast
Skipping breakfast will leave you starving later in the day and may cause you to overeat at meals later on. Instead, start your day with a healthy breakfast like a protein smoothie. This filling breakfast will satisfy you so that you aren’t ravenous when it’s time to eat with your family and friends.
Tip #2: Don’t graze
Nibbling while cooking and munching on appetizers without thinking will lead you to be full by the time dinner is served and set you up to overeat. To avoid grazing, sit down while you eat anything (even appetizers), and make sure that all of the food you eat is on a plate. This will help you be more conscious of what you are eating.
Tip #3: Pick foods you like
If you don’t like sweet potatoes, don’t eat them! Make sure that whatever you’re eating is something you like. This will not only help you enjoy your food more, it can help you stop eating once your body is satisfied.
Tip #4: Ditch the distractions
Tune into the present moment, being fully aware of the delicious meal in front of you. If you are thinking about something other than your food, or finding ways to distract yourself from your meal while you eat (like playing on your phone or watching TV), you may not notice how much you are eating and eat past the point of fullness.
Tip #5: Taste it all
Savor each bite of your food, noticing all of the flavors and textures as they touch your tongue. How does it taste? Is it tart? Sweet? Crunchy? This will help make your meals more satisfying and pleasurable, and increase the likelihood that you’ll stop eating when you are truly full.
Tip #6: Slow down
Because it takes your body time to realize that you are full, if you eat too quickly, you are likely to overeat. Instead, take small bites of food and chew your food slowly. Put your fork down between bites. This key step can help you avoid eating beyond the point of fullness.
Tip #7: Keep track of your true belly hunger
During the holidays, you might eat foods that are more decadent than normal. If you focus on your brain or your taste buds to guide how much you eat, you are likely to eat past your hunger levels. Instead, really tune into the hunger in your stomach. The minute your stomach feels satisfied, set down your fork and stop. You can always have more food if you get hungry later on. That is what leftovers are for, after all!