A Mindful Tip for the Holiday Season


Image: Pexels - Any Lane

There are many habits that you can take with you into the holiday season, but there may be one that I may argue can be one of the most important ones! It’s as simple as putting your food on your plate.

Finger foods, or just a spoonful? Put even the smallest food on a plate before picking it up and putting it right into your mouth!

Sometimes it just seems so much easier to grab a small appetizer off of a larger plate, or a shrimp from the shrimp cocktail, or grabbing a spoon and digging into that pint of ice cream, or what about just opening a bag of chips and putting your hand in it. Especially when you’re standing around and talking with others or simply sitting down in front of a TV.

However, when you look down for a minute, all you notice is that it’s gone. It’s simply disappeared from your hand, not from the plate! What gives! This is because these are mindless eating habits.

The act of just putting your hand in the bag or eating spoonfuls of ice cream without noticing is mindless. It’s just too quick and too easy to access it that your brain does not have to process what you are doing. This holiday season and the appetizers and trays of food are a time when we tend to mindlessly eat the most.

Do these sound familiar to you?

If any of these sound familiar to you, here’s what you can do!

The Mindful Tip…

Plate your food.

It’s as simple as it sounds. Putting your food on a plate. So how to actually do so? Slow down for a second and grab a plate or a bowl. Go to the appetizer table, and actually put the appetizer on the plate. Or, open the bag of chips or the pint of ice cream, and put a handful or scoop of your food onto the plate or bowl. It may have added a few extra seconds to your consumption time, but this extra time before heading face-first into the food already is making you more mindful. You’ll be more aware of what you are consuming since you are able to see it in front of you.

Table full of appetizers

Why is this?

Mindless eating occurs when you are not aware of the quantity that you are eating or that you are still eating in the first place.

We do this because it is too convenient to reach for the food if it is right there in front of us, especially when all we need is our fingers or just a spoon. Convenience allows for mindlessness.

The more work that is needed to eat the food whether that is taking it out of a drawer or from the cupboard, and putting it on a plate, the less likely you will eat the food or the less you will eat of it.

How to practice plating food this holiday season?

Rather than standing next to the appetizers or the trays of food, grab a plate. Eat the foods that you want to eat and enjoy, but before it goes from your hand to your mouth, take a few seconds to place it on the plate first! You’re already slowing down and seeing the food that you’ll be consuming shortly! This will help you be aware of your choices and you won’t be surprised as to why you’re not hungry for dinner. While you’re at it, don’t forget to take a quick photo of your meal with the Ate app to remember what you ate too!

How else to develop this into a better habit?

If you’re at home, instead of taking the easier way out, put your food on a plate or pour it into a bowl.

Another great habit is to put all your food away (and out of sight). When the food is out on the table, you are more likely to grab a piece of it than if it is not right in front of you.

One other tip is if you are going to have food on the counter, put it in a jar where you have to work harder to open the jar. Don’t choose the jar where you have to pull the lid off with one hand, but rather the jar where you have to screw the top off and use both hands.

If you’re making your favorite holiday cookies and you have plenty left over, don’t leave them out on the kitchen table. Put them away and when you’re really thinking about them, grab one of them, but first, put it on a plate!

Did you know that even Google implemented different methods of arranging its large variety of snacks to help its employees develop healthier habits?

The holiday season can still be about mindful habits such as platting your food — no need to stress out over this season filled with food. Sometimes, working on these habits during the holiday season can help you to be even more mindful of your food choices and will allow you to build healthier habits going forward!

For even more habit-building tips, check out the Ate app!

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