Importance of mindful eating this festive season

The festive season is characterised by good hearty, food laid in calories which makes keeping to our health goals difficult.

In order to keep our weight in check, as well as medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol, mindful eating is needed.

Nutrition expert Omy Naidoo from Newtricion Wellness Dieticians says there are some common challenges that people face during festive celebrations.

Speaking to Sunday World Naidoo said the biggest challenge with mindful eating is that we live in a fast-paced society.

“Even celebrations can become grab-and-go experiences as you shuffle between different functions as well as work the room catching up with loved ones.”

The best ways to overcome this include
  • Not eating unless you are hungry, and listening to your body’s cues of hunger and satiety.
  • Set out specific meal times, so that you can eat in a place and space which allows for mindful eating.
  • Slow down. During each meal, chew slowly and savour every bite. Try putting your utensils down between bites to slow down your eating.
  • Drinking water between bites also gives the body enough time to signal to the brain that it’s satisfied, not stuffed.
  • Avoid technology at meal times put your devices away and focus on the meal

There are some reasons and pressures that people give in to overindulging during festive
periods.

Naidoo shares that sharing of meals is a social experience, and with that many seem to reduce their willpower during the festive under the excuse that they will pick up again in the new year.

Ways you can enjoy special holiday treats mindfully without overindulging
  • Be mindful of your portion sizes of meals as well as treats.
  • Use smaller plates when eating, yes smaller plates have been found to assist us in reducing the overall amount we eat in that meal.
  • As much as we know treats are around work hard to equally have healthy snacks visible and easily accessible. These may include fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, dried fruit, yoghurt, biltong etc.
  • Avoid taking seconds or thirds as we know these are traditions over the holidays but be mindful as this can increase your calorie intake significantly.

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