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    Mindful Eating During the Holidays

    The Deaconess Wellness Team 12/03/2021

    While we are celebrating with family or prepping for a gathering during the holidays, it is very important to keep mindful of our eating patterns. We often eat additional calories without realizing it.

    Here are a few tips to be to help us be aware of dazing eating and food triggers:
    • While cooking—Watch taking extra bites or samples. Make sure you eat BEFORE you start cooking.
    • While socializing—We often continuously snack while socializing. Try to fill up on nutrient dense foods first. (Nuts, fruits, veggies, whole wheat crackers etc...)
    • Avoid standing next to the dessert table—Especially if sweets are your weakness. You could split desserts with a friend or family member.
    • Eating in large groups—Keep your own goals as a priority and not fall into peer pressure what others are eating and drinking.
    • Multiple family get togethers, carry-ins at work and dinners with friends—it’s not just ONE day during the holiday season - will add up in your calorie bank. Make smart choices consistently to keep from going overboard all season.
    Overeating at the dinner table during the holidays is common for most people. Whether it’s getting grandma’s famous dumplings or Mom’s famous pie, eating until we are uncomfortable is never a good thing.

    Here are a few tips to eat until you are satisfied and not stuffed:
    • Don’t starve yourself all day for one meal—People think this is a good idea to not eat all day and then eat all their calories in one meal. Most of the time this backfires and we feel miserable after the meal. Plan to eat a breakfast focused around protein and high quality carbohydrate.
    • Take your time eating—We waited all year for this meal! Enjoy it and don’t inhale it!
    • Drink water—We often mistake hunger for thirst. Drink 8oz of water before your meal begins. Also try to sip during the meal.
    • Watch Portions—With many favorite dishes in sight, try smaller samples of each item.
    • Taking 10 minutes before you get seconds—Our stomach and brain need time to talk. Take at least 10min before you rush back to the kitchen for seconds.

    Additional Tips and Tricks for a Healthier Holiday:
    • When possible, keep the skin on fruits and vegetables for added fiber content!
    • To cut down on saturated fat in a recipe, substitute half of the oil in a recipe for unsweetened applesauce!
    • Making your world famous quick bread this holiday season? No problem, add dried fruit instead of candies or chocolate chips to add a healthful twist!
    • When possible, use an egg substitute to reduce cholesterol in your recipe.
    • Low-fat, nonfat dairy products can help reduce fat and cholesterol in your recipe.
    • Watching your sodium this holiday season? No problem! Herbs and spices can help add in flavor while reducing sodium in the recipe.
    • Choose low-sodium broths for soups when possible.
    • Look for no-salt added vegetable canned goods.
    • When reducing sugar in a recipe incorporate an extract like vanilla, peppermint, or almond to provide a “sweet” flavor without the calories.

    Reference: University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment
    Cooperative Extension Service. Edition: FN-SSB.001, “Adapting Recipes.”
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