Mindful Eating Tips For Holidays

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Winter in Australia, means Summer in other countries, and is often a time when many of us do some travelling. 

Visiting new places is a fantastic opportunity to try new and different foods, and with a bit of mindfulness we can enjoy these new food experiences without feeling bloated and overfull. Here are my mindful eating tips for your next holiday, tried and tested by myself on our recent holiday to Fiji.  

Give yourself permission to eat whatever you feel like. When we give ourselves unconditional permission to eat whatever takes our fancy, different foods lose their power over us and binging or over eating the 'off limit' foods tends to subside. I have a goal with my food choices, and I want to leave a meal feeling better that when I started. With sticking to this goal I make appropriate food choices for how I am feeling and am less likely to over eat because A. I can eat the food again when I next feel like it and B. It wouldn't leave me feeling better than when I started the meal.   

Check in with how you are feeling. Making the best decision for a meal means you first need to check in with how you are feeling. This can take some practice but it is certainly something that you will get better at with experience. When I am checking in with how I am feeling I will take into account my hunger level, what sort of food will leave me feeling most satisfied (hot, cold, crunchy, smooth etc.), when my next opportunity to eat will be and how much energy do I need for the activities I will be doing, eg. if we are planning on going for a hike I will make sure I eat a bit of extra carbohydrates, or if it's a morning of reading by the pool a lighter breakfast will be fine. 

It's also helpful to check in with how your body is feeling during the meal. Are you continuing to eat because you are still hungry or really enjoying the food, or is it just to finish what's on your plate? Is this bite as delicious as the first? It's ok to stop eating when you are satisfied, even if there is still food on your plate. You can save this food for when you are next hungry, it doesn't have to be wasted. Eating when you are no longer hungry, is a waste, stopping when you are satisfied is not.

But, just because you can doesn't always mean that will be the best decision for you. Just because you're on holidays and you 'can' have multiple trips to the buffet for pastries for breakfast, doesn't mean that will leave you feeling the best after eating. By thinking about what you actually want to eat, and which food and in what quantity will leave you feeling the best after eating, you can make a choice that will satisfy your hunger and leave you feeling great after your meal to get on with the other activities that your holiday might offer. 

Stop what you are doing and enjoy the meal. When you are eating try to enjoy the food and your company, and switch off from other distractions eg. watching T.V. or looking at your phone. Enjoying the meal and your company will leave you feeling a lot more satisfied, than when your watching T.V. and wonder where your meal has gone. Get the most out of your holiday by being present with what you are doing, starting with eating your meals.   

I find that eating mindfully, while also staying well hydrated and keeping most meals balanced ensures that I feel my best while also enjoying local delicacies. I may eat past my comfort level on occasion, and that's ok, I'm human, but the majority of the time I am able to check in with my body and make the right decision for me at that moment, and eat to a comfortable level of satisfaction. 

Do you have any tips for mindful eating on holidays? I'd love to hear about them in the comments section below.    

These tips are general in nature, if you are looking to improve your relationship with food, and are looking for a Canberra Dietitian to assist you in achieving your nutrition related health goals, click here to book in for a consultation.   

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