It’s the most wonderful time of year! The Holiday season brings family traditions, shopping discounts, colder weather, holiday parties and most of all, a lot of food! While we start to indulge more in foods high in fat and sugar this season, we tend to forget our everyday eating habits, creating more risk for heart disease and stroke. It’s important to also not resort to “mindless” eating and enjoy your favorite dishes in moderation.
Mindless eating usually occurs when you are distracted or busy. We tend to reach for the quick option or just start to snack on what is in front of us. If you follow these simple tips, you could get rid of the unnecessary snacking and still be sure to have your favorite chocolate cake while maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle. When you pay attention to what you are eating, it makes a big difference in your overall health.
Here are some tips toward a more mindful approach:
- Control portions. Eat smaller portions. Instead of making a full plate, focus on the amount of food you are consuming and eat less of it.
- Eat when you’re hungry. Just because it is 5:00 pm, doesn’t mean you have to eat dinner. Pay attention to your body and only eat when you are hungry, not just because the food is available. Learn more about why you might be eating when not hungry.
- Plan. Prepare healthy snacks throughout the day. If you tend to get hungry between meals, bring along a high-fiber snack. Fiber keeps you feeling full longer.
- Slow down. Enjoy each bite and put your fork down while chewing, then take a drink between each bite. This gives your body enough time to trigger your brain that you are satisfied (not necessarily full).
- Pay attention. Do not eat in front of the TV or computer, or while standing in the kitchen or talking on the phone. When you do these things, you’re more likely to lose track of how much you’ve eaten.
- Use technology. As we continue to become increasingly distracted by modern technology, our focus on health can fall to the back burner. With many new apps available, you can use your smartphone to track your diet and exercise. Keep a food journal so you can keep track of your meals.
For tips and recipes to eat smart this holiday season, download our Holiday Eating Guide or visit our Healthy For Good page on heart.org.