• Christine McPhail MSc RD

Holiday Eating Tips

Holiday meals are about bringing people together, sharing a meal and creating memories but in our culture the conversation often turns to guilt around food choices, weight and body image concerns, and fears of overindulging. Change the conversation this holiday season with the following tips:

Give yourself full permission to eat what you love. Eat what you find to be satisfying, eat

slowly and savour every bite. Drop the food rules and ignore the food police. When you

aren’t stressed about your eating, you can digest more easily and derive more satisfaction

from your food, noticing when you are getting full and avoiding the tendency to “overeat” and feel discomfort.

Eating isn’t naughty or nice. Eating is for nourishment and pleasure and good nutrition is

important. When foods are labelled as “bad” or are restricted, they can become so irresistible that you may tend to feel out of control and overindulge in them when they are available. If you begin neutralizing your eating experience, food loses a lot of that power over you and you are better able to make food choices that nourish your body and mind.

Eat regular meals. Your body needs food at regular intervals throughout the day to meet its needs. Instead of skipping meals in anticipation of a large meal, try to have 3 meals and 2-3 snacks that include protein, fat, and carbohydrates (every 3-4 hours). Our bodies respond to restriction with intensified food cravings and a primal drive to eat which usually leads to


It is OK to say “no thank you” If you don’t like a food, you are under no obligation to eat it.

If you have made up your plate and find that you are getting full and have food leftover, you

don’t have to finish it. Politely decline if someone pushes you. You know your body best so

use your own hunger and fullness cues to guide your eating.

Remember good nutrition isn’t “perfect” and overindulging at times is normal but if you feel out of control, don’t find eating to be a pleasurable experience or you have concerns about your nutrition, speak to a Registered Dietitian or mental health care provider.

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