8 Mindful Eating Habits for the Holidays

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 Moderation. Small helpings. Sample a little bit of everything. These are the secrets of happiness and good health.

~ Julia Child

My favorite thing about the holidays is seeing all the people I love so much gathered together in one room. And this year especially, I know the sight of these people will really make my heart soar.

I also adore the cooking traditions and amazing dishes that symbolize these holiday get-togethers. Preparing food together and sharing family recipes is a tradition that I cherish.

But we have to keep in mind that it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and overindulge or consume things that don’t really serve us. The big challenge is to enjoy holiday gatherings without jeopardizing the healthy practices you have worked on throughout the year.

We’ve all been there… maybe you can’t resist one more glass of chilled rosé or you start mindlessly snacking on chips. It all feels so fun in the moment. But then, the next day, and maybe even for the next week, you end up trying to rebalance your system.

Maybe your sleep is disrupted, or your digestion goes crazy. Or maybe you end up with a surprise acne break-out.

Our bodies all respond to overindulgence in different ways but you know the signs when you see them. And it can leave you wondering, “what was I thinking?!

These are my tips for eating mindfully during the fall and winter seasons. Hopefully, they will help you navigate office parties and holiday gatherings as you find the balance between the festive celebrations and your desire to truly nurture yourself.

Chew each bite of food at least 21 times

One thing that helps me to eat more mindfully, especially when I’m eating with a group of friends, is to remind myself to chew each bite of food at least 21 times. 

This does a few things for you: 

First, you’re aiding digestion by properly breaking down any food before you swallow it, making things easier for your tummy! And second, you’re giving your brain enough time to register all of the food that you’re eating, making you less prone to overeat in a rush, feeling too full and uncomfortable later.

Stay hydrated

We all hear this advice often enough, it’s because staying hydrated is critical to our well-being. Oftentimes, when we think we’re hungry, we’re really just dehydrated. 

And remember that if you’re drinking, alcohol is dehydrating and you’ve got to add extra water throughout your day to balance your system. Drinking a glass of water before eating or snacking can often quell your urge to grab something to munch on. Make sure you’re drinking lots of water to help your body feel its best!

Put your fork down in between bites

This might sound silly, but it really helps me stop overeating when I put my utensils down after each bite I take. When you put your utensils down between bites, you’re less likely to put more food into your mouth while you’re already chewing. 

It helps remind you to take time to enjoy the flavors and sensations of the food you’re eating. And it helps you to slow down, eating at a pace that aids digestion, helps you feel your best, and really lets you enjoy the conversation and company you’re sharing.

Bring something to the party

Offer to bring a dish you love to the party. Not only will the host or hostess appreciate the gesture, but you’ll also have control over what goes into your food. 

I always bring a giant platter of this butternut squash dish. It’s incredibly delicious and no matter where I bring it, people want to know the recipe!

Fill up on vegetables and fruits

Not only do fruits and veggies have plenty of nutrients, but they also contain fiber, which helps keep you full longer and may leave less room for other high-calorie foods.

Reduce/reuse/recycle/regift food gifts

With the holidays come tins full of pretty cookies and sticky sweets. If you know that these will be trouble once you bring them home, open them up at work and pass them around for all to enjoy. Bring them to the dentist’s office or your kids’ school office, but definitely regift! 

Be active

A short trip over the holidays doesn’t have to mean taking a vacation from your wellness routine. Pack your workout gear, walking shoes, layers to keep you warm and comfortable, and make a point to fit in some exercise each day. 

And hey, why not nominate yourself as the group activity director, motivating everyone to do a YouTube yoga workout, take a beach run or brisk walk in the neighborhood to balance out all that sitting and eating? 

Modify portions

As Julia said, small portions are the secret. Sample a little bit of everything. You definitely don’t need to feel deprived when you’re eating mindfully.

Food Original portion Calories New portion Calories
Roasted turkey

(white meat, no skin)

7 ounces 380 3.5 ounces 190
Cranberry sauce 1/4 cup 90 2 tablespoons 45
Gravy 1/4 cup 129 2 tablespoons 64
Stuffing 1/2 cup 118 1/4 cup 59
Pumpkin pie 1/8 slice 316 1/16 slice 158

Look at the difference portion size can make:

I’m here to optimize and heal the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of the people I serve. And the best way I’ve found to do this is with my Culinary Alchemy®. For years, I’ve practiced Culinary Alchemy® – combining intuitive energetic techniques with guidance and education on functional and spiritual nutrition, integrating how food affects our bodies on a physiological level, and how it affects our energetic bodies.

If you’ve ever overindulged or eaten low-vibration food that you know won’t make you feel good, then you probably understand how powerful the connection is between what you eat and your overall wellbeing.

And remember, when you’re at a holiday gathering, all the yummy treats are a bonus but don’t make them the main event. You’re there to socialize and reconnect. Live, love laugh, repeat!



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This content is strictly the opinion of Chef Serena Poon and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Serena nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.

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