Here's how to keep the food guilt in balance.

With the endless parties and feasting, the holidays can often feel like a roller coaster of food guilt. Here’s how to keep it all in balance.


Believe it or not, it is actually possible to eat healthy over the holidays without feeling completely stuffed (or guilty in the process). It’s all about mindfully enjoying your meal on Thanksgiving (and any other holiday or celebration).

Here’s how you can do it:

1. Make a plate of nourishing foods.

Serve yourself on a plate, don’t just mindlessly grab and snack. If possible, use a smaller plate to help you visualize what you’re eating. Seeing everything on your plate helps your brain to register that you are eating a nice meal and can help you feel satisfied.

Focus first on the foods that nourish your body with fiber and protein, such as veggies and lean protein. The best options are white meats without skin and plant based proteins.  Enjoy veggies that are roasted, raw, or lightly cooked.  Once you’ve filled your plates, it’s time to pick your favorites…

2. Pick your favorites.

Thanksgiving and Christmas comes around once a year, so please enjoy your favorite foods. However, don’t eat the stuff you don’t really care for! Just because it’s there doesn’t mean you must eat it.

Put a nice-sized portion of your favorite dishes on your plate after you’ve filled up with delicious veggies and protein. Eat it, savor it, and really enjoy what you are putting into your mouth and tummy. Remember, more control over what you eat doesn’t mean less enjoyment, it means less food guilt

3. Hold off on seconds for a sec.

Give yourself at least 10-15 minutes before you go back for another helping of food. Wait to see if you really want more, or if you are just eating because it’s there. Before going back, ask yourself:

Am I actually hungry? If my only choice was an apple, would I want to eat it?

If the answer is yes, then get your seconds. If the answer is no, find something better to do. Or go back for seconds, but be sure to enjoy them without food guilt.

4. Savor and enjoy it.

Remember to enjoy what you are eating. Don’t feel guilty if you ate more than normal or had an extra pecan pie bar or four.

Eat it. Enjoy it. Move on. If all else fails, just remember that it’s only one meal. One meal isn’t going to make or break your health. The guilt of a previous meal is not going make you any healthier; it will only make you miserable. And being miserable because of food choices is not going to make you feel thankful.

Feel grateful for the time you get to enjoy with family and friends, eating that nice and satisfying meal.

What better way than to slow down and reflect on all your blessings this past year.

Adapted from the original article.

Meme Inge, MS, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in San Diego. She shares approachable, nourishing recipes to prove that living a healthy lifestyle can be budget-friendly, delicious and fun. Get to know more about Meme at Living Well Kitchen.