Figuring out how you are going to celebrate the holidays without gathering with friends and family during the COVID-19 pandemic can add stress to an otherwise joyful time. Try putting a positive spin on the extra time you will likely have by contemplating meal-planning and using mindfulness principles to get the most nourishment out of your meals.
Meal-planning can sound like a lot of work so let's frame it by knowing that we are creating healthy and nourishing meals. It only takes a little bit of forethought and organization to make it happen. Using an App like Anylist can help you plan a meal, organize recipes, and create shopping lists for all the ingredients you'll need with just a few clicks.
To prevent overeating during the holidays, first and foremost do not skip meals. This way, you will come to the dinner table hungry but not ravenous, so that you will be able to enjoy your holiday meal.
Start the Day with a Healthy Breakfast
Begin your day with a balanced breakfast that will keep you satisfied and focused. Include lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and monounsaturated fats to help stabilize blood sugars and keep you at peak energy levels for several hours.
Choose a balanced breakfast of eggs, whole wheat toast with mashed avocado, and a serving of fruit or old-fashioned oatmeal with fruit and ground flaxseed or chia seeds. If you do choose to eat simple carbohydrates like waffles or pancakes, pair them with protein, fiber, or healthy fats, such as a spread of peanut or almond butter, plain Greek yogurt, or an egg.
For lunch, consider a plant-based meal, because more than likely you will be enjoying ample amounts of animal proteins for your holiday meals. Try spinach, sautéed kale, or roasted butternut squash with garbanzo beans topped with olive oil and lemon juice. Another great option can be chickpea pasta with broccoli, tomatoes, olive oil, and garlic.
When it comes time for the big holiday dinner remember to eat mindfully. Savor the occasion and each bite you are about to take. Before you begin to eat, start with a meditative minute and appreciate your food. Take four seconds to breathe in, hold it for four seconds, and then exhale for four seconds. Try and repeat this process four times.
Remember to use all of your senses before you begin to eat. Admire your meal with your eyes before taking your first bite and remember to put your fork down and chew each mouthful about 20 to 30 times depending on what you are eating. Using these steps will slow you down, help you feel satisfied, and let your mind connect to your fullness.
Try this easy plant based recipe
Debbie Bessen, MS, RD, CSO, is a registered dietitian specializing in oncology, food sensitivities, gastrointestinal health, and weight control.
If you have any questions, or would like to make an appointment with a registered dietitian for a telemedicine nutrition counseling appointment with Holy Name’s outpatient nutrition center, call 201-227-6040.