Yay, holidays! Can you believe it’s that time of year already? I don’t know about you, but I’m getting so excited for all the festivities with family and friends. Makes me so happy!
But I ain’t gonna lie, the holidays can also stress me the frick out! Endless social obligations, a to-do list a mile long and not a lot of time to catch (or connect with) my breath. But the real biggie is often mindless eating—which leads to overeating.
From family get-togethers to “Friendsgivings” to workplace potlucks, there’s no shortage of gatherings that encourage loading up on eats and drinks while chatting away. Sometimes in the midst of the merry madness, we leave the party with no real sense of how much we consumed. It’s all a binge-y blur.
That’s why we’re gonna dish on some mindful partying strategies so we can sip and chew our way through the holidays—without feeling like garbage on the other side.
Below, you’ll find a guide to navigating holiday meals and treats from a place of intention. Give some of these tactics a try—they’ll help you stay present and feel your best. Let the ho ho begin!
Set an intention
Before I go to a party, I always set an intention for the evening. How do I want it to go? What do I want to have happen? It could be to connect with as many people as I can, while still being mindful. To eat slowly, not allow my glass to be refilled for me and so on. As Les Brown says, where your focus goes, your energy flows. Start with intention and work backwards from there.
Practice self-care first thing
Begin the morning on a healthful note. Connect with yourself through guided meditation, a workout and/or green drink, these practices set you on the right track and allow you to keep building from there.
Plan for pushy relatives
Every family has them: people who are concerned about what is and isn’t on your plate. Regardless, you can still stay on a healthy path without sounding like a jerk, by bringing a delish and nourishing dish with you! This is a fantastic way to ensure you’re getting fed well, while also nourishing your loved ones too. And don’t forget, you always have the power to decline food you don’t want in a gracious way.
Deck-out your table
My mom taught me this tip, she’s an artist when it comes to beautiful table settings. Pull out a pretty tablecloth and make a festive centerpiece, add some candles or twinkle lights and you’re golden. Heck, even if the football game is playing in the background, it will still feel special and cozy. And even if you’re not hosting, you can still offer to help with the settings. Being part of setting the scene connects us to the ritual and our tribe.
No email, no Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram, etc. Scrolling through your feeds makes it all too easy to miss the deliciousness of the foods on your plate and conversations around you. Plus, it’s kinda naughty and rude. The people we love deserve our full attention. And you’ll be more fulfilled by having giving it.
Don’t pick—make a plate
It’s undeniably easy to lose track of your intake when bites of food float straight from the serving dish to your mouth with no plate in between. If you want to sample the spread, go for it. Just make yourself a plate, and sit your cute butt down to enjoy.
Use smaller dishes and glasses
Another way too much pie and wine make it into our bellies is oversized plates and glasses. When possible, choose the smaller ones. This will help you keep an eye on your serving sizes. And don’t forget to haul out the good stuff. You know, the set your grandma gave you that’s too nice to use? Well, you can’t take it with ya!
Survey the spread before filling up your plate
Get the lay of the land before you commit. By seeing what’s available, you’ll avoid heaping mounds of meh food because you didn’t realize the can’t-miss items at the end o’ the line.
Pile on the plants—but don’t skip your favorites
Those family-favorites are often the best part of holiday eating! Load up on your veggies, but don’t feel like you can’t have your aunt’s famous apple pie as long as it aligns with your food philosophy. For example, although I might eat a little sugar at a holiday shindig, I’m still going to pass on anything made with animal products. But if you feel like it will throw off your healthy habits for weeks to come, pass on it.
Slow down and chew!
It seems so simple, and yet it’s so easy to forget the basic and essential part of noshing. Take your time and chew, chew, chew. Your tummy doesn’t have teeth, so it’s up to you. Plus, chewing allows you to taste—and appreciate—what’s on your plate more (not to mention digest it better!). Also, try to pace yourself. Put your fork down between bites and jump in on some soulful conversation. Taking your time vs shoveling will also help you eat less and feel more satisfied.