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5 Tips for Mindful Eating During the Holidays

We often eat when we feel emotional, leading to poor choices. Let’s think about how to manage this! It's the holiday season, which means many parties, gatherings, and good times with family and friends. It also means that there will be lots of food around. While I love food as much as anyone else, I also know that it can be challenging to make good choices when you are around it all the time. Research shows that most people gain weight during the holidays.
So how do we manage our eating during this time? Here are some ways:
Take a few deep breaths and acknowledge how you feel.
Before you rush into the party or sit down at the holiday meal, stop and take a few deep breaths. Four or five is plenty, and acknowledge how you feel. Anxious? Stressed? Sad? Nervous? Rushed? Put your hands over your heart, take a deep breath, and say, "I want to be here right now." Even a moment or two of breathing and acknowledging your feelings will put you in touch with yourself. You can do this anywhere - in your car, in an elevator, or at the doorstep of your party! 
Enjoy a healthy snack before you go!
Eat a high-protein snack; a handful of nuts, veggies, hummus, or fruit with 1-2 tablespoons of sugar-free nut butter before a holiday party, so you'll be less tempted by all the chips, crackers, and cheese.
Eat and drink what you really want.
Forget any tips that say to eat carrot sticks and celery. It's the holidays. Choose the food you really want to eat. You might not get that particular food any other time of the year. When you choose the food you really want, you will be satisfied. If you don't, you could graze all night and never feel like you've had enough. The critical thing to keep in mind? While you don't want to stuff yourself, you also do not want to overindulge, leading to feeling sick later in the evening.
Serve yourself a plate of food.
It is easier to see what you're eating if you consciously pick what you want and then put it on a plate. Refrain from fooling yourself into thinking you're not eating because you're walking around snacking on each food table. It does add up. While filling your plate, check in with your body to see how much food it wants in terms of volume. You've honored your taste buds by picking the food you wish; now, honor your body by taking the amount it prefers. PS - use small plates; it can help with portion control.
Savor and enjoy.
You've selected the food you want to eat; now savor it. Don't miss the experience. Be fully present for the eating experience, and let those feelings go if thoughts of guilt arise. Please don't give them a home here. Savor and enjoy! Don't miss the true joy of exceptional food during the holidays.
In summary, be mindful about what you are going to eat as you head into the holiday parties. Check in with your hunger and employ these tips to enjoy the festivities and feel good about your choices.  
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