Tips for Mindful Eating During the Holidays

Nourish your body regardless of the season.
Try to maintain the same eating patterns during the holidays as the rest of the year. If you normally eat breakfast and lunch, you should continue during the holidays.

Try to maintain the same eating patterns during the holidays as the rest of the year. If you normally eat breakfast and lunch, you should continue during the holidays.

This time of year often delivers an array of tempting foods — Halloween candy, tailgating snacks, Thanksgiving dinner, and holiday parties. There is nothing wrong with engaging with different types of food, but balance is key.

Carli Barbo, dietitian in the Wellness Empowerment Center in the Division of Student Engagement and Well-Being, and Molly Edwards, dietetic intern with Emory University Hospital, provide tips for keeping your health on course while navigating the buffet table of the holiday season.

  • The holidays can be stressful. Don’t let food be a stresor, too.
    • Try to maintain the same eating patterns during the holidays as the rest of the year. If you normally eat breakfast and lunch, you should continue during the holidays.
    • Don’t show up at an event overly hungry, and honor your hunger by eating only when you are actually hungry.
    • Remember that food is more than fuel (nutrients and calories) — it is also social. Enjoy the time, create memories, and connect with friends and family.
    • Don’t limit the amount or the time spent around food.
    • Don’t try to “make up for” what you ate with extra workouts.
    • Try to find balance in your meals by eating a variety of carbohydrates, protein, fat, and fiber.
  • Ignore what diet culture may be telling you.
    • Eat until you start to feel full, then wait about 10 minutes to reassess hunger cues. If you’re still hungry, eat some more.
    • It’s OK to enjoy tasty treats without guilt. Don’t label foods as “good” or “bad.”
    • Don’t place restrictions on certain foods. You will desire what you restrict even more.
    • Don’t be hyperfocused on your weight — it doesn’t define you.
    • Move when you can. Give yourself permission to rest or exercise.
    • Surround yourself with people who encourage you and promote body positivity.

“Nourishing your body physically is not the only way to care for your body,” said Barbo. “It’s important to listen to your body and still enjoy food so that the holidays remain a positive experience.”

If you need help or have questions regarding nutrition services, email nutrition@gatech.edu for assistance or visit the Wellness Empowerment Center for information on nutrition and body image.

Try to find balance in your meals by eating a variety of carbohydrates, protein, fat, and fiber.
Try to find balance in your meals by eating a variety of carbohydrates, protein, fat, and fiber.
Remember that food is more than fuel (nutrients and calories) — it is also social. Enjoy the time, create memories, and connect with friends and family.
Remember that food is more than fuel (nutrients and calories) — it is also social. Enjoy the time, create memories, and connect with friends and family.