While the holidays are usually a time for joy and cheer, for some of us they can be a time of heightened stress and anxiety as we face unhealthy temptations during holiday meals.

That’s why, in this week’s blog, we want to share our top tips for recognizing and coping with the food-related anxiety during the holidays. It’s time to ditch that food guilt and have a wholesome, happy Christmas without letting diet-obsessions get in the way! 

What is mindful eating? 

Mindful and intuitive eating is about developing an awareness of your relationship with food. This approach has nothing to do with diets, meal plans, discipline or willpower. Instead, it is about developing a more conscious, healthier and balanced response to food, and teaching yourself how to get in touch with your body’s cues like hunger, fullness and satisfaction.

Tips for mindful eating during the holidays 

The holidays can feel like a minefield for many of us, with large family meals presenting many delicious temptations. Food equals comfort and togetherness for many families but research shows that one-third of holiday stress is due to fears of overindulgence and food-based anxiety.

So, for those struggling with stress and guilt about food this festive season, here are some tips for enjoying holiday gatherings without derailing your health and wellness goals.


1.Eat more healthy, hearty foods

The fear and guilt associated with breaking a restrictive diet or eating foods we’d normally avoid during the year can prevent many of us from really enjoying a meal with our family. The key to coping with food anxiety during the holidays is to reject this diet mentality and encourage yourself to focus on healthy, balanced eating rather than restricting yourself during this time. 

Remember, it’s okay to enjoy a mince pie and some delicious Christmas pudding, but it’s equally important to stack your plate full of veggies and greens. 

Eating plenty of whole fruits, vegetables, and grains along with Christmas treats can help curb cravings and prevent you from overeating. These “high volume foods”  also tend to leave you with an increased feeling of fulfillment and satisfaction after a meal. 

2. Savour what you’re eating 

While it may be tempting to wolf down three servings of turkey in one sitting, it’s important to take a moment and really appreciate what is on your plate. Try to employ all your senses while you’re eating your food, and eat slowly to really take-in the flavour. Eating slowly increases the levels of hormones responsible for feeling full, which may help reduce calorie intake and encourage you to eat more mindfully and intuitively. Chewing slowly can also encourage better digestion and leave you feeling more satisfied after a meal.

3. Don’t channel your stress into eating

Even under normal circumstances, tensions can run high at holiday gatherings – and that was before a global pandemic was thrown into the mix.

It’s important not to channel the stress from this kind of large family gathering into eating. While it may be tempting to take this as an opportunity to self-sabotage and rely on emotional eating to cope with your feelings, try to develop healthier ways to deal with emotional triggers during this time instead. 

For example, try to incorporate more exercise and activity in your daily routine in the days leading up to this Christmas period. And, if you start to feel overwhelmed during a family gathering, practice stepping away, finding a quiet place and doing some deep breathing or even a short 5-minute meditation session

4. Listen to your fullness cues

People tend to panic if they move away from a more restrictive diet and stop calorie-counting. While breaking a diet or strict eating plan can be a source of anxiety for many people, the holidays are a time to say goodbye to this guilt and start listening to your body instead. 

Your focus should always be to listen to our body’s hunger and fullness cues – with the goal of eating until you’re comfortable, full and satisfied in mind. A good idea is to try and focus on the difference between true hunger cues that encourage you to continue eating and non-hunger triggers for eating (such as tase, emotional stress or habitual eating) which could cause you to over-eat even when you’re already feeling full.

This is the perfect example of mindful eating. Instead of overindulging, try to observe how the food makes you feel and the signals your body sends about taste, satisfaction, and fullness. 

5. Bring something of your own to share.

The fear and guilt associated with unhealthy eating can prevent many of us from really enjoying a meal with our family. So, why not bring along some of your own healthy but delicious treats like these chicken and bulgar wheat salad or these delicious raw chocolate brownies instead.

This is a great way to have better control over your food choices at this kind of social event, and you can guarantee that there will always be something on the table that works for you.

Enjoy the holidays with WellBe

Here at WellBe&Co, we believe in easy-to-implement, lifestyle-focussed health and wellness habits. The key to living a healthy, balanced life starts with good nutrition – which is why we want to share all our top nutritious and delicious recipes with you this holiday season.

Why not try some of these tasty recipes this Christmas day and enjoy some healthy, hearty food while still indulging in a treat or two. And, if the stress of the holidays is getting to be a bit too much to handle, check out our simple guide to mastering mediation and developing better emotional awareness during this time.

Want to learn more? Check out our Instagram page or contact one of our friendly WellBe team members for more information today.