Already in a panic about how your clothes will fit after the holiday season? Having the internal conversation about how you’ll “get back” to it in January or already beating yourself up over your choices?

The holidays are meant to be a time of celebration and joy but we often get sidetracked by a cycle of over indulgence and guilt. Find your balance with these tips on mindful eating, healthy alternatives and allowing yourself to relax and enjoy.

We met up with Chantal Hayes, Registered Dietician at Zehrs in Kingsville, just down the road from our Kingsville Winery location, and she shared her tips for the holiday season.

Ditch the Guilt

One of Chantal’s favourite books is “Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat”. In it, she highlighted this quote which resonates with her philosophy as a Dietitian: 

“When guilt is no longer a factor, common sense prevails.” – Michelle May, M.D

Get back into the intuitiveness of eating. Be like a baby crying when it’s physiologically hungry. You want to be in charge of your food choices, not “in control”. “When you’re in charge, you’re the boss. Food is not the boss of you.”

Basically, enjoy some treats but know when you’ve had enough.

Be a Healthy Host

When planning your own party, draw out a plate and insert your menu items in the appropriate food groups. Break it down to Fruits and Veggies, Proteins (meat and/or plant based) and Grains/Starches. Think half of your plate of Fruits and Veggies and a quarter for each of Proteins and Grains/Starches.

Again, it’s the holidays, so your plate portions may be slightly distorted at times, but when you can, try to visualize a balanced plate in your mind. You’ll feel better after your meals and so will your guests, if all of the food groups have been offered on your menu.

Guest Appearance

Don’t go to a party hungry because you will end up with the entire whole chip bowl on your lap. Make good choices that will help you feel full during the day, for example avocados as they contain both fiber and hearty fats.

Try not to starve yourself before the party thinking it will make more room for food. It goes against our bodies natural hunger cues and can lead to a cycle of guilt and restriction. Bottom line, this cycle can lead to overeating and weight gain. Your body needs to trust that you will feed it on a regular basis.

Keep Moving

Even if it’s only little bouts of exercise like a ten minute walk around the block, it makes a difference.

Start Off Right

Choose a good breakfast that “builds your fire” for the day. It starts you off on the right foot and ensures you get some good nutrition early to prevent overeating later at night. After all, breakfast stands for Break-The-Fast!

Hydrate

“Imagine being able to boost your energy level by consuming enough liquid.” – Michelle May

This isn’t just water. Teas and broths count toward your daily intake of fluids.

Time for a Shot… of Probiotics

Dairy, non-dairy, kefir, it doesn’t matter. Probiotics help tend to your digestive garden, helping weed out the bad bacteria and build a healthy gut. Start slow and build up.

Lastly, be present and enjoy the people and festivities with a full heart versus an overfilled stomach.

Recommended Reading: “Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat – a mindful eating program to break your eat-repent-repeat cycle” – Michelle May, M.D.

Chantal Hayes
Registered Dietician, Loblaw Companies Ltd.

Find her on social media @ChantalHayesRD

Chantal’s goal is to help her clients to fall in love with nutrition and the wonder of healthy food through sharing the fun of food and keeping prep simple.