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10 Tips for eating healthy at holiday parties

5. Avoid eating for others.

“I made this just for you!” “Here, have another one!” “Have you tried my famous _____?” Something I hear about time and time again is eating that occurs to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. If difficulty turning down food you don’t want is a challenge for you, mentally practice doing this and then give it a shot at the party!

6. Be a picky eater.

Do you walk through a buffet line automatically taking one of everything, regardless of whether or not you like it? Avoid mindlessly taking one of everything if you don’t want one of everything. Pay attention to what you really want and make sure you are filling your plate with things you will enjoy.

7. Be mindful.

Talk about over stimulation! Music and conversation surround you. It’s the perfect recipe for mindless eating. In addition to the hunger and fullness check in – which is a mindfulness tool – pay attention to flavors, temperatures, and textures. The more mindful you are, the more likely you are to leave feeling satisfied without feeling overstuffed.

[Related: Discover more about the benefits of mindful eating in “5 Reasons to Get More Zen with Food”]

8. Be aware of your non-hunger cues.

Are there situations that cause you to eat even if you are not hungry or don’t physically have room for more? Being aware of what your individual non-hunger cues can help you avoid overeating.

There are two very common non-hunger eating triggers at parties. The first one is being a member of the clean plate club, when leaving food on the plate feels impossible (normally this is a residual effect of childhood). The second is when the motion of others eating causes you to eat, despite your hunger level. Paying attention to your non-hunger cues is an important part of feeling equipped at holiday parties.

9. Food safety.

Is the holiday party this weekend an “open house” with a huge chunk of time between start and end time? Food might be sitting out longer than your intestines will appreciate, so if you are considering the cheese ball or chicken wings but you are unsure how long it’s been sitting there unchilled, consider skipping it.

10. Drink in moderation.

Getting too tipsy can not only embarrass you, leaving you to wake up with regret the next morning. Too much liquid holiday cheer can also make it difficult to honor fullness.

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