Last week, we gave you some tips on how to eat mindfully so that you could still enjoy your holiday festivities without feeling like you were negating all of the hard work you’ve done all year. Because mindful eating is such a hot topic and a great way to learn how to practice balance, we wanted to expand on that blog post and give you five more tips to get you through this holiday season.
1. Forget about Cleaning Your Plate
From a young age, we’re taught to clear everything off of our plates. We may have been told not to waste food, or that there are starving children in other parts of the world that would love a hot meal. While the sentiment behind these statements is supposed to be a positive one, they can backfire. We carry these ideas into adulthood and have a tendency to eat every bite of food on our plates, even if we’re full halfway through our meal. We’re not encouraging you to waste food, but instead of over-stuffing yourself, take leftovers home. If you can’t take leftovers with you, it’s okay to leave some food on your plate. Listen to your body and the signals that tell you you’re full – and honor those signals.
2. Opt for Smaller Plates
It may be a trick of the mind, but smaller plates can help with portion control. When we’re holding a plate, we tend to fill it, especially in a buffet-style situation. A large plate means more food than a smaller plate. When you’re at a dinner party or a restaurant where you’re filling your own plate, opt for a salad or appetizer plate. You can go back for seconds if you’re still hungry, but give yourself some time to allow your food to settle.
3. Put Utensils Down Between Bites
Today’s modern world is “go, go, go”. We tend to rush through our entire day – and eating is no different. Next time you sit down for a meal, take a breath and slow down. Put your fork down between bites and chew slowly.
4. Pay Attention
When was the last time you paid attention to the texture of the food you were eating? The crunch of almonds in your mouth, the creaminess of your salad dressing, and the coolness of a bite of avocado often go unnoticed when you’re rushing through your meal to get to the next moment. Make it a point to pay attention, not just to the flavor of your food, but to the whole experience. Eating a meal is supposed to be pleasurable. Take it all in.
5. Sit Down
In the holiday setting, especially at holiday parties and work events, there is a tendency to stand around with appetizer plates, or to grab an hors d’oeuvres as a server walks by, and quickly eat it while you continue on with your conversation. Instead, try to make it a point to put a small plate together and sit down while you eat. This forces you to pay more attention and slow down. If you want to keep your hands busy while you’re walking around mingling, ask for a soda water with a splash of fresh cranberry juice and a squeeze of lime and sip it slowly.