Mindful Holiday Eating

The holidays are here. With the cooler weather, cocktail parties and family gatherings often comes an abundance of calorie-dense, fat and sugar laden treats that are considered traditional staples of the season. The good news is that people can still participate in the festivities without destroying diets. Kristen Ludwig and Jessica Dean, Registered Dietitians for the ShopRites in Canton and West Hartford, Connecticut have several simple tips and tricks to help people stay on track and eat guilt free this holiday season.

Invited to a cocktail party or family gathering?

“Bring a healthy appetizer or side dish that you enjoy,” advises Ludwig. “That way, you have a healthy option and won’t get stuck eating something you don’t necessarily want.”

“Remember all foods are fine, in moderation,” says Dean, who encourages people to identify their trigger foods. “However, when it comes to things like ice cream, chocolate or macaroni, some people have a hard time limited portions. These are trigger foods. Research shows that our taste buds become desensitized to a food’s flavor in just three bites, so I try the three bite rule. On the first bite introduce yourself to the flavors. On the second bite, savor it. On the third bite, say goodbye.”

Both Dietitians recommend eating a small snack or low calorie meal before leaving the house, as people are more tempted to overeat or make less nutritious choices when they are hungry.

Ludwig also advises to be conscious of the open bar by setting a limit of “one or two alcoholic drinks. Alcohol has empty calories and can also weaken your will power when it comes to food. Opt for seltzer with a splash of juice instead.”

It’s also important not to forget that the purpose of the gathering is probably socializing. So socialize, but, Dean says, “Move your conversations away from the buffet table. This will minimize mindless munching.”

“In addition, keep up with your exercise routine. We are all bound to eat extra calories around the holidays and that's okay, but do not make it an excuse to fall off the fitness wagon,” Ludwig said, adding that nothing helps fend off holiday bulge like a little physical activity.

The ShopRites of Canton and West Hartford are locally owned and operated by the Joseph family. To schedule your free nutrition consultation and store tour with Kristen in Canton or Jessica in West Hartford, please visit or call the Service Desk at the store (860-693-3666 for Canton and 860-233-1713 for West Hartford).



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