Savor Holiday Meals

At Guiding Stars, we appreciate the pleasure and satisfaction that comes from eating. Sharing holiday meals with family and friends is something we look forward to and we hope you do too. Our mission is to save you time and effort in choosing nutritious food so you can spend more time enjoying it. In this edition of Nutritious Nudges, let’s discuss how to savor special holiday foods without guilt. We hope you will leave the table feeling completely satisfied and content this holiday season.

Don’t skip meals.

It might sound like a good idea to skip a meal and save calories for a holiday celebration later in the day. It’s not. You’ll feel ravenous from the lack of food and probably end up overeating. Plus, low blood sugar can increase your irritability and that’s no fun for anyone. Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach can go sideways quickly too. Avoid all of that by eating a meal earlier in the day that includes whole grains, fruit, vegetables, and some type of lean protein.

Eat what you really want.

Try to savor foods from the holiday spread that you truly enjoy and skip those that don’t really interest you. Prioritize seasonal treats since those are around less often. Do your best to really taste and enjoy these special treats while you can. 

As a dietitian, I’m obliged to advise you to add color and nutrition to your plate with fruits and vegetables. Aim to cover half the plate with them. You’ll feel full longer as a result.  

Limit mindless eating.

Socializing near the buffet or appetizer table at holiday gatherings can lead to mindless eating. You might end up eating more than if you were paying closer attention. Try to avoid eating while distracted by making yourself a plate and enjoying your conversation away from the rest of the food. 

Feel for fullness.

Do you ever pause while eating to assess your body’s hunger and satiety cues? You can listen for these signals to learn when you are no longer hungry. Try to observe the signs that show that you’re comfortably full and satisfied. Ask yourself how the food tastes and what your current hunger level is. This can prevent you from overeating and feeling stuffed after a meal. 

Lose the food guilt. 

It’s common to feel guilty after an indulgent meal, but you can free yourself from it by allowing yourself unconditional permission to eat. If you tell yourself you shouldn’t have a food, you might feel deprived and crave it more. When you finally give in to cravings on forbidden foods you are likely to overeat and start the cycle over again. Lose the food guilt. It’s what you eat over time that matters. After savoring your holiday meal, try to enjoy nutritious foods at your next meal that taste good and make you feel good.