How to Practice Mindful Eating Over the Holidays

Ah, the holiday season. A time of year when indulgence abounds. Along with parties, gifts, and decorations, the festive season tends to be associated with food, and it can be easy to get so caught up in celebratory feasts and nostalgic treats that we lose track of regular, balanced meals and the other healthy eating habits that serve us so well the rest of the year.

“People aren’t used to eating out for so many meals or having a full buffet of food readily available during this time of year,” says Rachel Goldman, PhD, a New York City–based licensed psychologist and clinical assistant psychiatry professor at the New York University School of Medicine. “When we’re distracted by being in a new environment or chitchatting with friends and family, we’re more likely to pick at food in front of us regardless of whether we’re hungry.”

On special occasions, eating differently is to be expected. “Overeating a bit over the holidays is very normal and not something to freak out about,” says Rachael Hartley, RD, the owner of Rachael Hartley Nutrition and author of Gentle Nutrition. “We have food-related celebrations and connection, and sometimes eating a little more than you normally would is a fun part of celebrating.” What’s more important, she says, is enjoying those moments of excess without feeling guilty. Mindful eating is a tool that can help you do that.

Excerpted from Everyday Health

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