How to Enjoy Holiday Eating (Without Guilt or Stress)

by | Nov 7, 2022 | 0 comments

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Are you a bit nervous about all of the food that shows up over the holidays? If so, you’re not alone. It seems that more than half of Americans deal with food guilt over the holidays. Many people say that their food anxiety is worse than worrying about dealing with family visits and gift-giving.

In hopes of helping you get more enjoyment out of the holidays and ditch the food stress, here are some of my top tips:


Tip #1: Stick with your normal, healthy routine before and after big events.

If you’ve been reading our blog, you know that we recommend finding a regular healthy eating routine that you truly enjoy. This comes in particularly handy during the busy holiday season. If you know exactly what you usually like to grab at the grocery store to make your usual nourishing meals and snacks, you can focus your energy on getting the other things done that you enjoy during this season. It gives you more time to decorate, shop, and spend time with family and friends. It gives you more normalcy so that when food indulgences do show up, you can enjoy them guilt-free knowing that you’ve been taking great care of your body with your routine most days.


Tip #2: Don’t starve yourself before or after a holiday meal.

You may think that skipping breakfast and lunch would be a smart plan heading into a large holiday meal. The truth is that when you show up super-hungry, you are much more likely to overeat by many more calories than if you had consumed a fiber-rich, nutrient-dense, satisfying meal earlier that day. I’m sure you’ve heard the advice that you should never go food shopping on an empty stomach. This is similar. It’s harder to completely over-eat when you’re not very hungry to begin with. It’s also easier to make more rational choices (don’t drink the gravy straight out of the gravy boat). ; )


Tip #3: Make sure there’s something healthy that you love to eat at the event.

Whether you’re hosting or attending, people usually don’t mind having extra food around during the holidays. If you bring your favorite healthy side dish, you know there will be something there that you truly enjoy to fill up on that won’t cause any upset stomachs or regret later on.  


Tip #4: Plan to indulge mindfully and with no guilt.

Of course, you should enjoy holiday foods that only appear once a year. If you choose them mindfully, enjoy every morsel, and then move on happily, it’s really no big deal what you eat on a few special days. Just remember to eat when it’s “worth it.” If you taste something that you thought would be delicious and it’s not great, you don’t have to eat it. My mantra around this time of year is, “I’m not a human garbage can.” It’s my reminder to myself to enjoy the tastiest foods and ditch the rest of the many mediocre things that show up.


Tip #5: If you overindulge and feel icky, try moving.

Gentle movement after you overeat isn’t about punishing yourself. It’s simply a lovely way to aid gut motility and digestion. It helps slow the blood sugar spike and may prevent the “food coma.” It’s also a fun way to connect with your family and friends instead of vegging in front of the tv after the meal. If it’s too cold outside, then everyone can join in with this great walk-and-talk video from Jessica.


Tip #6: Focus on enjoying everything you love about the holidays.

If most of us were to list the things we love about this season, there would be lots of things that don’t include food. The purpose of gatherings is to connect with loved ones, not to eat as much as possible. Food will always be around. If you really want more stuffing and you didn’t get your fill on the holiday, you can realistically make it again next week. Sometimes we act like this is our last meal. Like it’s our final time to enjoy these foods. But it’s just food at the end of the day. And what I bet what really matters more to you are the people.  


Wishing you all the happiest holiday season! We would love to hear about how you handle holiday food stress in the comments below. Take the best care of your beautiful self.


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