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Inviting mindfulness to the table this holiday season

Published: Dec. 9, 2021 at 1:16 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - April Bennett, nutrition program manager at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County, appeared on 7 News at Noon on Thursday to offer tips on eating mindfully during the holiday season.

You can watch her full interview above.

Bennett offered the following tips:

  • If you are trying to make healthy choices, don’t deprive yourself of those things that truly matter to you. Think of the foods that are really special to you at the holidays and plan to enjoy them. Build the rest of your food choices around these items so you can ensure you are still eating in balance with plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and dairy, and water! A food tracking app can be a helpful tool.
  • If you are hosting, choose 2-4 recipes you enjoy making and can make well. Don’t be afraid to outsource the rest! You are not responsible for accommodating every diet and everyone’s favorite food traditions. Instead, when guests ask what they can bring, encourage them to bring a dish that is special to them and theirs. If they need more specific guidance, ask them to make the dishes you don’t enjoy making or that take up too much time or refrigerator space to be realistic for you to prepare without getting stressed.
  • If you are a guest, don’t expect your host will have foods that accommodate your food needs. If you are vegetarian, offer to bring a vegetarian dish. Or if your child has a gluten allergy, offer to bring a gluten-free dish and request that the host let you know which items served will include gluten.
  • Request that mealtime be screen-free and ask guests to put their phones away when at the table.
  • Pause to reflect and be thankful for the food and people at the table before eating. Slow down and really savor your food while eating. Try setting your fork down between bites. Take small bites and chew slowly. Listen to your body and stop eating before you are overly full. Do not feel pressure to clean your plate!
  • Holidays can be a challenging time to fit in physical activity but building them in to the day’s events can help. After dinner, encourage everyone to go for a walk outside to look at Christmas lights or hold a living room dance party, or play a round of charades to get everyone up.
  • If you don’t want those leftovers to lead to overeating later, pack up to-go containers for guests to take with them.
  • Most importantly, enjoy yourself and what makes the holidays meaningful to you.

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