Top 5 Tips for Holiday Food Peace
The holidays are here, which means opportunities for time spent with family and friends. The holidays also bring awkward family encounters, diet talk around the table, and increased anxiety around the plethora of available food and drinks. But attempting to strictly control portions or avoiding desserts inevitably leads to feeling restricted -consciously or subconsciously- and feeling even more out of control around food in the end. This year, how about taking some steps to making peace with food instead of swearing to start over in 2019?
Here’s 5 tips for enjoying holiday foods this year:
- Know that the holidays aren’t meant to be 100% healthy.
Trying to eat perfectly throughout the holidays is a recipe for food guilt. Meal times don’t need to be about making the lowest-carb cauliflower creations or no-sugar desserts so that you don’t feel guilty around food. Allow yourself to enjoy the real stuff that tastes good and satisfies you. The holidays are only six weeks, not six years…so enjoy them while they are here.
2. Get in the kitchen.
Do you enjoy baking or cooking, but avoid it or not eat the food you make? Skip the store-bought sweets and get in the kitchen. You are more likely to enjoy food if you make it from scratch vs buying things you can get anytime. If that feels overwhelming, don’t do it alone. Host a get-together with a few friends and have a homemade cookie swap, or call mom over for an afternoon of baking.
- Take mindful bites.
It can be difficult to eat mindful meals when there’s fifteen people in your house, kiddos climbing all over you, and festive music or football on. But try taking at least a few mindful bites and actually taste each of the foods you eat. You can be more aware of when your taste buds have had enough of a particular food and start to want something else – studies show that you don’t get the same satisfaction from the sixth bite of one particular food, vs the first bite, for instance.
- Set your boundaries.
Does family time bring up memories of diet-talk and food-shaming around the table? Unfortunately, you can’t control other people’s behaviors and food opinions (or their desire to share it with everyone) but you can establish your boundaries before-hand so that you are equipped if anything comes up. Perhaps think of a few “conversation changers” or other topics that are more interesting than your Uncle Gary’s girlfriend’s coworker’s neighbor’s new diet.
- Focus on family, friends, and festivities
When you stop worrying about food, it frees up so much brain space to focus on the fun things in life. Remember your true meaning of the holiday season…what are you thankful for? Who do you want to spend time with? How can you help others? It shouldn’t be all about the food.