Mindful Eating During the Christmas Holidays

Debbie Archer | School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences

The holiday season is full of yummy baked treats and festive party dishes that tempt us. It’s great to spend time with family and friends and enjoy delicious dishes, but you need to be mindful of what and how much food you eat, Teresa Henson, Extension specialist-program outreach coordinator at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, said.

“If being mindful of what you eat during the holidays sounds like too much work,” she said, “it really isn’t.” 

Henson suggests the tips below to help you enjoy your holiday favorites.

  • Eat breakfast. Start your day with a healthy breakfast. Breakfast will allow you to stay full and not overeat. 
  • Leave food on your plate. Don’t clean your plate. It’s perfectly fine to leave food on your plate. When you are full, stop eating. Save leftovers for later.  
  • Make healthy choices. Keep healthy food choices, such as fruits and vegetables, readily available in cabinets, cupboards and the refrigerator to encourage mindful, healthy eating habits. 
  • Control portions. Eat items in smaller, single portions to control overeating. 
  • Eat on smaller plates. The less you see on your plate, the better. Smaller plates will help you control portion sizes. 
  • Eat when you’re hungry. Let hunger cues guide your eating. 
  • Eat slowly. During the meal, chew slowly and enjoy every bite. Try putting your fork down between bites to slow down your eating. Drinking water between bites gives the body enough time to signal to the brain that it’s satisfied.
  • Sit down. Eat at the dinner table and not in front of your computer or TV. You can better control how much food you eat. 

Try the healthy recipe below, provided by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, to kick off the holiday season.

Holiday Fruit Parfait

Yield: 1 Serving


  • ½ cup of red and green fruit such as green grapes, kiwi, strawberries and raspberries
  • ½ cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • Maple syrup (optional)


  1. Wash hands with soap and water.
  2. Rinse produce and pat dry with paper towel.
  3. Cut fruit up into small pieces, ½ inch or less, safe enough for children under 5 years old.
  4. Layer yogurt with fruit in a plastic glass. If desired, drizzle a teaspoon of maple syrup for an added touch of sweetness. 

Nutrition Information

Calories 143
Total Fat 0.1 g
Sodium 59mg
Total Carbohydrates 33g
Fiber 1.8g
Protein 4g

Some of the information in this article was provided by North Carolina State University Extension and Utah State University Extension. 

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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