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Practice Mindful Eating During Holidays

By Aarti Patel Email By Aarti Patel
November 2017
Practice Mindful Eating During Holidays

The average American typically gains several pounds during the holiday season. With constant parties, endless food platters, sweets and desserts galore, and celebratory high calorie drinks, it’s easy to see why. To avoid this trap, here are some tips.

Don’t eat everything in front of you just because it’s the holidays. To avoid overindulging at parties, eat either a snack or a high fiber smoothie before the event. Then, only fill your plate with healthy low calorie choices and avoid foods that you would normally not eat. Avoid dishes that are cheesy, saucy, fried, and sweet. Grains, grilled meats, and veggies are better options.

Don’t stay hungry or skip meals just to follow up with a big meal. That spells disaster! Not only will you end up overeating but also eating too much of unhealthy foods that are dense in calories. Always aim for three well-balanced, portion-controlled meals a day just like any other day!

Mindful planning. Take time to plan your day, including meal timings, as this results in mindful eating. For example, if you have several parties to go to during the week, don’t plan on indulging at all of them. Instead pick only one party when you will indulge (so you don’t feel deprived), and then have a healthy meal before you go to the other parties to avoid overeating. Keep healthy snacks such as an apple, banana, nuts, and crackers available at all times, especially during busy times. Keeping a food journal helps you stay on track.

Use your smartphone. Make smart use of your smartphone by downloading food apps that help you keep track of calories and meals. Certain apps also provide menus of restaurants and suggest options for healthy meals. Food apps can give the option of downloading low calorie recipes, and fitness apps help by keeping track of calories burned. People who use these apps are more conscientious about mindful eating and are more successful with maintaining desirable weight.

Eat slowly during parties. Take your time nibbling and chewing. Mingle more, talk more, have some water in between bites. It is tempting to refill an empty plate. Work on yours slowly so you’re not tempted to get seconds. Once done, don’t stand there holding an empty plate, as you could be tempted to get more food; instead, ditch your plate.

Avoid liquid calories. From eggnog to hot buttered rum, holiday drinks can pack in calories, so choose your drink wisely. Some holiday drinks have up to 400 calories. Alcoholic drinks also impair your judgment about healthy food choices and cause you to eat more. If you must have a drink, choose a glass of wine, wine spritzer, or a light beer over mixed drinks and liquor.

Don’t wear loose fitting clothing. Finally, being mindful about the clothes you wear can also help prevent overeating. Avoid loose fitting clothes and instead wear well fitted clothes that are snug around the waist. This will provide a constant reminder to not only keep portion size under control, but to also stop eating when full.

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Aarti Patel serves as the columnist for Fitness Lifestyle. She has a B.Sc. in Health Information Administration and is certified by the American Council on Exercise as a Personal and Group Fitness Instructor, and Lifestyle and Weight Management Coach. She can be reached at (404)-376-5655; info@aartifitness.com.

This column rotates monthly along with the Ask the Doctor column by Gulshan Harjee, M.D.

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