6 Tips for Mindful Holiday Eating From a Registered Dietitian

6 Tips to More Mindful Eating During the Holiday Season - From Registered Dietitian Monica Szeliga

  Food is a big part of many festive celebrations, and you should be able to enjoy it without worrying about how it will impact your nutrition goals. 

The good news is, you don't have to choose between enjoying yourself at social events and staying on track. With a few strategies in mind and a little planning, you can navigate holiday eating with ease.  

Follow these 6 tips to help you feel more in control of your eating during social events and holiday dinners.

 1. Eat Regularly Throughout the Day  

If you are planning to attend a gathering where there will be a lot of food, it may be tempting to skip meals earlier in the day and “save” space for more food later. However, try to stick to a regular eating pattern where you eat something every 3-4 hours that you are awake. Doing so will help prevent you from experiencing extreme hunger that may lead to eating less healthfully - or overeating. 

Snacks and meals should include a source of carbohydrates to provide fuel, as well as some protein and fat to keep you feeling satisfied for longer. 

Read more about healthy snacks here.

2. Focus on Balance Instead of Restriction

When building a plate, you can use this balanced plate visual that makes up the newest version of Canada’s Food Guide

Balanced Plate Nutrition from Canada's Food Guide

First, fill half of your plate with different colours of vegetables. They provide filling fibre, water and substances that fight inflammation and aging.

Then, fill one quarter of your plate with starchy foods such as pasta, rice, quinoa, barley, potato or corn. The other quarter of your plate can be filled with protein foods such as meat, poultry, fish, beans, lentils, tofu or dairy.

3. Slow Down Your Eating and Eat More Mindfully

It is very common to eat quickly and not pay attention to how the foods we eat are making us feel. This can lead to being unaware of how much we have eaten.

Instead, try to slow down your eating, put down your cutlery between bites, and enjoy the food you are eating.

Give yourself 20 minutes to finish all the food on your plate. This will make it easier to notice if you are still hungry or if you are satisfied.  You will also enjoy the food more if you take some time to appreciate the taste and texture of each bite!


4. Keep Hydrated

Ensure that you are drinking enough fluids throughout the day.

Many holiday dishes may be high in sodium, which can lead to dehydration and bloating.

We also often confuse thirst with hunger, and we can prevent this by drinking enough fluids throughout the day.

Water, naturally flavoured water or herbal teas are good options to rehydrate. You can monitor the colour of your urine to determine whether you are adequately hydrated.

Urine colour and hydration chart

* Chart from Health Direct

5. Develop Strategies Other Than Eating to Manage Stress

The holiday season can be stressful, and many people use food as a distraction even when they are not physically hungry. Eating in response to triggers other than physical hunger can lead to mindless overeating. 

Consider finding activities that replace eating in these situations, such as: writing a journal entry, calling a trusted friend or family member, or movement you enjoy (walking, working out, running, yoga, sports!). You may find it helpful to create your own list to keep on hand.

 6.Avoid All-Or-Nothing Thinking  


Eating differently during the holiday season is common. Do not feel guilty for enjoying foods in different forms or different amounts. If you feel like you have overeaten, you can always aim to become more mindful at the next meal.

Holiday eating doesn't have to be a nutritional disaster! Use these strategies to help you reach your nutritional goals while enjoying social events this holiday season... and beyond!

And if you need more support reach out! Registered Dietitians are trained experts in nutrition and will work with you to reach your goals.  


Monica is a Registered Dietitian who specializes in chronic disease prevention and management, working with clients to make dietary improvements that are realistic, sustainable and tailored to individuals' needs.
Looking for personalized nutrition support? 

Book with Monica here