Wellness Club — Moderation, Mindfulness, and Balance This Holiday Season

Wellness Club — Moderation, Mindfulness, and Balance This Holiday Season
Abingdon, VA. - Sunday, Nov 1, 2020.

Written by: Elizabeth Hall, MS, RDN, LDN, Food City Registered Dietitian

Holiday calories don’t count right? While the holiday season is about celebrating and enjoying time spent with family and friends, and not obsessing over your food choices; the truth, that many of us don’t want to face, is that our favorite holiday recipes DO have calories! Recognizing this, and focusing on moderation and balance can help you to enjoy those seasonal treats in a mindful way that doesn’t have to put a damper on your health goals.

Being aware of portion sizes is important. Loading a large plate with large portions could make you more likely to eat past your level of fullness. However, choosing a smaller plate with smaller portions gives the illusion that you have eaten a plate-full keeping you more in-tune with your fullness cues. If you want to try a little of everything, go right ahead! Just choose smaller portions of each. If you don’t make it all the way around the buffet table, save some of the foods you didn’t get to try for later. 

Also, be mindful and present during the meal to avoid over-eating. Savor the flavor of the food by eating slowly. It is estimated that it takes approximately 20 minutes for your brain to realize your stomach is full. So, enjoy the conversation around the dinner table while practicing mindful eating.

Lastly, balance heavier foods with lighter options that incorporate healthful options from each food group. For example, casseroles and desserts often provide more calories, fat, and sugar, so pair them with lighter options like a side dish that incorporates vegetables. Another part of balance is to balance “calories in” with “calories out,” by engaging in activity or mindful movement throughout the day. Go on a walk after eating dinner or participate in a local virtual “fun run” to get you up and moving, which helps to balance additional calories eaten at a heavier than normal meal.

Remember, the holidays should not be filled with anxiety around the foods you eat. Practice moderation, mindfulness, and balance this holiday season and enjoy eating the foods you love with the ones you love.