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  • Julie C.H. Brake, MS, RDN, LD

Eating Well During the Holidays

Holiday seasons don't have to be a struggle. We can eat well and still enjoy the holiday! How does this work? Here are my 10 tips to eating well during any holiday season:

1. Know your hunger & fullness cues. If you aren't in tune with your body's signals, eating well at any time will be difficult. Learn these cues, and work with a dietitian who specializes in intuitive eating cues if needed.

2. Pay attention to your body's cues. If you need to eat, eat. If you need to stop eating, stop eating. If you've had enough alcohol, stop drinking. If you need to rest, rest.

3. Eat a variety of foods. Use knowledge of the six basic food groups (grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, protein, and fats) to balance your intake. Then choose foods that you like to eat.

4. If you enjoy physical activity, keep up with your usual routine. There's no need to add extra but you want your body to get the amount of activity that is healthy for you.

5. Stay mindful. Avoid mindless munching, especially when affected by people around you (whether positive or negative) or when watching TV or a movie.

6. Have regular meals, snacks, and fluids. Fasting for a feast will simply lead to overeating and regret. Keep up with fluid intake to stay well hydrated and prevent feeling overly hungry from dehydration. This is also important to remember if you are doing any traveling.

7. Allow yourself and your children to eat and drink whatever you want. Placing restrictions tends to lead to less satisfaction with whatever is consumed, and that will lead to overindulging to try to feel satisfied.

8. If you have significant struggles with eating, set up as much support as you need. Talk with a friend or family member about your struggles so you can reach out for support. Leave an environment if it's not safe for you.

9. Love your body - all the time. Be thankful for the shape and size that God made your body, and don't try to make it a different shape or size other than what is healthy for you. When you have this mindset, you won't obsess about how what you eat might affect your body.

10. Focus on the meaning of the holiday. If it's Thanksgiving, dwell on ways you have been blessed. If it's Hanukkah, remember the miracle of the lights. If it's Christmas, consider how God coming to earth changed the course of history. If it's the New Year, think about what positive changes might be ahead. If it's Easter, ponder the sacrifice of the sinless God-Man to save us from our sins. ~ Regardless of the holiday, the meaning is the reason for celebration. The gatherings, the food, the fun are all centered on the true meaning.

So when celebrating any holiday, maybe these tips can help you eat well and prosper.

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