at baby+co. we love everything about the holiday season: the shopping, the decorations, the crisp weather, and of course, the delicious food. but it can seem like the last few months of the year are one long buffet of not-so-healthy choices, starting with halloween candy and ending with the clink of a champagne or beer glass at midnight on new year’s eve. our health coach in our cary, nc center, makayla mclaughlin, shares her tips for eating mindfully during this festive time.

  1. drink a glass of water before eating. whether you’re an expectant parent, a breastfeeding mom, or trying to conceive, most women barely meet the minimum targets for fluid intake according to the cdc. what you think is hunger might actually be thirst, so try a glass of water before heading for the fridge.
  2. sit down and tune out. when you’re eating on the go or trying to multi-task your meal, it’s a lot harder to appreciate your food. you’re less likely to keep track of what you’re eating if you’re staring at the television or checking your phone for facebook messages.
  3. portion it out. we’ve all had that moment when we suddenly realize we’ve eaten through an entire bag of chips or sleeve of cookies. it’s harder to tell how much you’ve had if you’re eating directly from the container.
  4. use a smaller plate. this is especially helpful for all-you-can-eat buffets, which are wonderful in that they offer so much variety, but can also make overindulgence very tempting. grab a small plate and give yourself time to eat what’s on it before going back for more.
  5. chew as many times as possible. no, you don’t need to chew each bite until it’s liquefied in your mouth, but don’t gobble it down either. if you’re eating with others, you don’t want to be the first one finished. take your time, relax, and enjoy the food and company. that’s what the holidays are all about.
  6. leave some behind. despite what your mother may have told you, you don’t need to finish everything on your plate. in fact, it’s highly unlikely that you will serve yourself the exact portion size that will satisfy you. it’s better to waste a little food than to overeat, so before you take those last few bites, ask yourself if you’re eating it because you’re hungry or because you “think you should.”

the holidays are associated with some of the most delicious foods we eat all year, and as long as you’re paying attention to what and how much you’re eating, you should be fine. when those sugarplums start dancing in your head, these mindful eating tips will help keep you on track!

want more one-on-one nutrition help? schedule a session at your local baby+co. with a health coach or sign up for our well+prepared class, eat.