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5 Mind-Focused Hacks for Holiday Eating

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5 Mind-Focused Hacks for Holiday Eating

This guest blog post was written by Bridget Wojciak, RDN, LD.

Nutrition science can be complicated — often confusing you about what to eat, especially during the holidays.

But we’ve got your back!


If you’re stressed about holiday eating, consider these five mind-focused eating tips:

  1. Don’t think of foods as naughty or nice. We tend to designate foods as “good” or “bad.” We often say, “I was so bad, I ate (insert dessert item)!”

    But classifying foods as “good” or “bad” oversimplifies nutrition. Take, for example, an apple, which can leave those with irritable bowel syndrome with digestive issues due to the amount of fructose. Jelly beans? What may be a sugar bomb for a trick-or-treater is a cost-effective energy burst for a person who needs glucose to summit a mountain.

  2. Guilt is not an essential nutrient. Feeling guilty about the foods you ate at a holiday party isn’t a physiological benefit to your health. Save yourself the emotional turmoil and be comfortable with your choices.

    Eating to the point of being so full it hurts? Chalk it up as a life lesson to listen to your body, make note for next time and carry on. Empower yourself to enjoy delicious food without a side of guilt. When you stop labeling certain foods as “bad,” they become less crave-able and simply a food choice like any other.

  3. Be an expert on the topic of you. The universe floods us with cues on what, when and how we should eat. A TV show distracts you from tasting and enjoying your food. An article tells you to never eat certain foods. A friend swears by a new diet and wants you to join along. They’re everywhere.

    Decide when and how much to eat instead of letting your environment choose for you.

    Holidays can be a whirlwind. Make yourself a priority and check in with your body. Every few hours, stop and ask, “Am I hungry? How hungry? Then act accordingly.

  4. Eating healthy doesn’t have to ruin your holiday. “Healthy” has become synonymous with buckets of kale and celery sticks — devoid of anything tasty and fun. Don’t believe the hype.

    “Healthy” is like a fingerprint — it’s unique to you. The one thing everyone’s health has in common is it doesn’t require a life of rigidity and self-sacrifice. This holds true for holiday eating habits.

    Eating well doesn’t mean eating only things you hate. Don’t like broccoli? No worries. You can choose plenty of other veggies. An open mind to try new foods and new ways to prepare them can open up a world of delicious possibilities for balanced nourishment. You might even find a new holiday favorite recipe to make a tradition.

  5. Focus on your food. Mind your own plate. You don’t necessarily need a second helping just because everyone else is having one. And you don’t have to order a salad at lunch because your co-workers do.

    Comparison is the thief of joy and balanced eating habits. It’s a two-way street: Don’t mindlessly mimic eating habits of people around you and don’t weigh in on what others eat. Be mindful that you may not know why others fill their holiday plate a certain way.

Bridget Wojciak RDN LD portraitThis guest blog post was written by Bridget Wojciak, RDN, LD.

Read her bio: Working with hundreds of patients over the years, from nursing homes to grocery aisles sculpted Bridget’s core philosophy on nutrition. Food is too important and too delicious to be the source of stress. From mealtime, to grocery shopping, to grandma’s famous recipes, food should be celebrated and the moments its plays in our lives deserved to be remembered fondly. In her role as Director of Nutrition at Kroger Health Bridget works to bring shoppers science-backed, real life, and simple ways to enjoy personalized nutrition solutions. She understands healthy eating does not mean dreading what’s on your plate.