Tips For Mindful Eating Around The Holidays
It's that time of year again! Time for fun, family, .... and a lot of food.
Large meals are a hallmark of the holiday season, but they don't mean you have to stuff your face mindlessly.
Instead, consider taking a mindful approach to eating. We offer several tips for mindful eating:
- Do your own cooking
- Get to know your own food
- Don't be afraid to eat
- Avoid alcohol
- Engage all the senses
- Practice other forms of mindfulness
What is mindful eating?
Mindful eating is the process of becoming more aware of:
- What you are eating
- Why you are eating
- What you feel like when you eat
- How you feel after eating
In this sense, mindful eating is not really a diet like keto or paleo. Instead, it is an approach to becoming more conscious of your eating habits.
That said, mindful eating often leads to realizations that make you change your diet as a result.
Humans tend to eat out of habit or emotion, rather than out of hunger, especially in our modern calorie-rich environment. The next time you reach for a box of cookies, pause for a moment and ask yourself: Why am I eating this? What feeling am I really trying to satisfy?
Do Your Own Cooking
There's no better way to eat mindfully than to cook mindfully. The truth is, we often don't know what we are putting into our own bodies, especially if we never read the nutrition labels.
Doing your own cooking involves so much more than just putting ingredients in a pot. It also involves:
- Choosing recipes
- Selecting ingredients at the store
- Modifying and refining dishes
At each step of the way, you can strive to pay more attention to what you are doing, why you are doing it, and what it feels like to do it.
Get To Know Your Own Food
Nutrition labels are there for a reason. They provide valuable information on the stuff you put into your body. Some of the best and healthiest foods are the ones that don't really even need a nutrition label, like farm-grown produce.
In addition to reading nutrition labels, get to know what each ingredient you typically eat really means. Nutrition blogs (such as ours!) are a great resource for learning more.
Don't Be Afraid To Eat
Mindful eating doesn't mean eating any more or any less than you normally do. It just means paying more attention to what you eat. And when it's the holidays, why restrict yourself? It's a good chance to spend time with family and friends, and have fun! Enjoying a feast at the holidays can even be a great opportunity to practice mindful eating.
If you eat a lot of food, be mindful of how it feels during and after. If it's too much food, you might be feeling not that great, and that's valuable information to know for the future.
Alcohol is fun for socializing, but intoxication makes it harder to concentrate. Be careful if you drink too much, as you may lose focus and fall into habitual eating patterns.
But if you do drink, take a moment to reflect on how that experience affects you, as well. Ask yourself: how different does each glass of wine make me feel? And how long does it last?
Engage All Senses
Mindfulness is about being aware of everything that's going on around you: sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. Practicing being mindful in all these sense modalities will actually make it easier to concentrate and be aware of your sensory experience when eating.
Additionally, you might notice that eating impacts your other senses. Many people report sharpened vision when hungry, and slightly dulled senses after a heavy meal.
Practice Other Forms Of Mindfulness
Yoga, meditation, qigong, and other practices are all designed to enhance awareness and sensory experience. They go hand in hand with any mindful eating practices you take up. If anything, consider mindful eating as continuous with any other mindful practices you use, not separate.
Mindful eating is a great way to get to know your own body, habits, and food better. It allows you to find out what your body is really telling you about what it needs.
Although the holidays are often a time for stuffing your face with pies and mashed potatoes, that doesn't mean you have to eat robotically.
If you're looking for a healthy snack that you can enjoy any time of year, consider our protein bars. They are low carb and low sugar, and made from natural ingredients like cocoa butter and almond flour.