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Woman snacking during holiday season.

Mindful Eating During the Holidays

As the holiday season draws near, our calendars fill up with parties and potlucks. It’s a time of joy
and togetherness, but for many, it also can bring the challenge of navigating a buffet of tempting
treats and indulgent dishes. Practicing mindful eating becomes more important than ever during
the holiday season. Mindful eating is defined as “maintaining an in-the-moment awareness of the
food and drink you put into your body and observing how the food makes you feel.” By
reviewing nutrition guidelines and learning how to find balance, you’ll be able to enjoy yourself
and practice mindful eating this holiday season.

Dietary Guidelines

Mindful eating is about finding balance. You can still enjoy holiday baked goods and treats, but
know that you should balance your plate with healthy foods, too. Current dietary guidelines focus on consuming nutrient-dense food, and:

  • Eating plenty of nutritious vegetables every day
  • A diet rich in whole fruits (and fewer processed fruits and juice products)
  • Leaner protein sources
  • Whole grain bread and pasta
  • Low-fat dairy choices

Try to limit:

  • Pop
  • Candy
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • High-sodium foods
  • Rich holiday desserts

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a fabulous feast with the family! You can even enjoy your favorite pumpkin pies and mashed potatoes with gravy. The trick is to find a healthy balance.

How to Find a Healthy Balance

Start by being aware of your calorie needs. Some Americans need roughly 2,000 calories daily,
but that’s a general average. You might need far fewer calories if you’re less active, work from
home, or have a petite build. In comparison, a 6’6″ lumberjack who works 100 hours per week
may need significantly more calories.

If you’re in charge of bringing a dish to your next holiday gathering, try making a healthier
version of some classics. Skinny Garlic Mashed Potatoes substitutes sour cream or even Greek
yogurt instead of heavy cream. Naturally Sweetened Cranberry Sauce uses honey or maple syrup
to sweeten the naturally tart flavor of cranberries. Adding a bunch of veggies to your plate will
help fill you up, but still allow for you to enjoy some of your less-nutritious favorites.

  • If you overindulge — we all do, it’s not your personal failure — add more physical activity to your holidays. Even in winter, there are plenty of activities.
  • If it’s nice outside, throw the football around with the kids
  • Take a long walk to look at Christmas lights
  • Try something new and plan a snowshoeing outing
  • If there’s snow on the ground, go sledding! Climbing up those hills is no easy feat
  • Search an indoor workout online that can be done with or without equipment

At Healthy SD, we believe eating smart and being active are two of the best ways to improve our
health. Your health and fitness goals don’t need to take a back burner just because it’s the
holidays. Mindful eating will help you navigate this holiday season.