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Holidays are a time of joy but they can also be stressful. Reconnecting with family, buying presents, juggling different social obligations, and then there’s the worry about putting on that dreaded “holiday weight.” While holidays are a time for fellowship and feasts, you should be able to feast without guilt if you follow a few of our tips on how to get your grub on during a holiday season (or any time!).
When it comes to having a good meal, size matters. Eating smaller portions will help you better manage your blood sugar. When you eat a lot of food at once, your glucose levels will spike quickly. Eating smaller amounts will also help your digestion. Instead of a traffic jam down there you'll have a speedy HOV lane. Small portions are also a good idea if you're eating a multi-course meal or buffet and want to sample a lot of things.
Researchers have found that one of the leading causes of overeating is stress. We stuff ourselves not because we’re hungry but because there’s an unpleasant feeling we’re grappling with that we’re trying to soothe with a full stomach. Doing what you can to hit the dinner table stress-free will help you make your eating about EATING and not acting as a coping mechanism.
You can also practice mindful eating, a process in which you take a slow and steady tempo toward your dining experience. Resist the urge to greedily scarf things up; take your meal one small, savoring bite at a time. Focus on the smell of the food, the taste, the texture. Take breaths between each bite, and give yourself at least a couple of minutes to relax before going for seconds or piling more food on your plate. If you’ve practiced any kind of meditation, you’ll find some similarities to those practices. It’s all about being in the moment and focusing on your senses.
Wait Before You Re-Up
Have you heard the expression, “my eyes were bigger than my stomach?” Our appetite and our stomachs aren’t in sync. We can still feel the impulse to eat AFTER we’ve already eaten more than enough food. If you’re having a big meal, pace yourself between plates. Experts recommend waiting 10-20 minutes before going for seconds. If you give yourself enough time to process what you’ve eaten you may end up feeling satiated and not going for that second plate.
Most of us are familiar with turkey’s reputation for being a sleep aid. It’s not the only food item you want to watch out for at the dinner table. You want to take care to not eat too much of any of the following to avoid a drop in energy:
- Refined grains (white bread, white rice, pasta, and potatoes)
- Fatty meats
- Sugary desserts
It isn’t so much that eating any one of these things will have you snoring like a sloth, but eating a bunch of these food types so close together (which can happen at a feast) can sneak up on you pretty quickly.
Don’t skimp on water during a feast. Water will fill you up and help keep your appetite manageable. It can also be easy to accidentally dehydrate yourself when you’ve eaten too many salty foods and/or drank too much alcohol or consumed other dehydrating liquids throughout the evening.
Article by Austin Brietta