Mindful Eating to Reduce Holiday Stress

By Jamie Truppi, MSN

‘Tis the season to eat, drink and be merry! While the holidays are intended to bring about feelings of love and cheer, for most of us, they are exhausting and overwhelming.  The abundance of holiday parties, kids’ activities, shopping, family visits and work deadlines causes major stress.

With less time to cook and surrounded with temptations, food choices inevitably suffer. Because we’re not digesting well, we absorb fewer nutrients. We eat mindlessly, consume excess caffeine and sugar, and are unaware of our true satiety. Our blood sugar, hormones, metabolism, gut integrity, mood, cognition, and our immune systems are compromised.

When practiced regularly, eating more slowly and more mindfully can shift your body’s stress response and help prevent multi-system, stress-induced dysfunction. You may also feel lighter, not only as a result of improved hunger and satiety cues, but also from being more present in the moment.

These few simple eating shifts will help you more fully enjoy the season.

  1. Carve out time to sit down for meals, and only eat. No multi-tasking, no driving, no working, no running out the door. Breathe. Ask, am I mentally hungry or physically hungry?
  2. Chew slowly. Put down your fork between bites. Close your eyes. Notice the textures, temperatures and seasonal flavors. This is a fun exercise to practice with kids!
  3. Create a food vision for events and for busy days. Prepare well-balanced snacks during the week so you can savor a homemade goodie at your holiday party.
  4. Be flexible and kind to yourself. Craving a coffee at 4:00 pm after gift shopping? Give yourself permission to indulge in one – not both.
  5. Commit to placing treats on a small plate, not picking from that array of holiday truffles or spiced nuts; then sit down to savor them.

Want to learn more about mindful eating practices, and how to eat to reduce stress in your life?

Join Jamie on Monday, December 10th in the Zenergy lobby for a 45-minute nutrition talk! Free & open to the public.