Holiday Challenge

— Written By and last updated by Emily Capps

Are you ready for the holidays?

When we think of the holidays and eating we have to begin with Halloween. Many people buy candy “just in case we have Trick-or-Treaters”, and then end up with leftover candy because we didn’t have any or not as many as we planned for. So what do we do with all the leftovers…enjoy them ourselves or even better, share them with our co-workers.

Then not a month later, we have Thanksgiving. Some families share their meal with two families, and don’t want to hurt any feelings by not eating.

And then we have the month of December with lots of celebrations, sharing of cakes, candy, and other traditional foods. Then we end the year with the New Year’s Eve Parties.

With all these tempting foods, how can we maintain our weight without gaining? Have you heard of the Holiday Challenge? This program encourages you to eat right, and maintain and not gain weight. It is free to sign up ( ) and you are provided weekly tips of how to eat right. Here are some tips from Holiday Challenge that helps you get started. (Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less)

The holiday season can oftentimes be filled with “overs”- overeating, over-baking, over-drinking, overbuying, and over-committing. Sometimes, we may feel lost or out of control in the overabundance of the season. Take a step back and be present in each moment. When it comes to food, here are a few tips to practice mindful eating:

Eat slowly and focus on the food. What flavors stand out to you?

Enjoy the quality, not the quantity. When more food is put in front of us, we are tempted to consume more. Be mindful of portions and try using a smaller plate. Slow down and savor each bite.

Mindful eating is an evidence-based strategy to maintain or lose weight, as eating mindfully helps us pay attention to what and how much we are eating. Mindful eating strategies include paying attention to our hunger levels (as the Grinch would say, “am I eating because I’m bored?”), eating slowly with awareness of each bite, and noticing the taste, texture, and flavors of each food item. 

Eat One Piece at a Time. Try to incorporate more mindful eating practices into your everyday routines. Put all screens away while eating (turn TV off, put phone away during lunch, move away from your computer), and put your fork down between bites to slow down each meal.

Taking one piece (or bite) at a time.   By taking one piece,  you can slow down, pay attention to what and how much you are eating, and better enjoy the flavors. 

When eating popcorn, instead of grab a few at a time to eat without thinking anything about it, take one piece at a time. At the bottom of a tortilla chip bag (or bowl), instead of taking two or three smaller pieces that were broken to eat at once,  focus on one at a time. There are many of other foods that it is so tempting to eat a handful without paying attention, pay more attention to that one piece and enjoy it. 

Eliminate distractions. Turn off the TV, phones, or computers while eating.

Bonus tip: If you still want to enjoy a special dessert or your favorite holiday treat, try following the one-bite rule. By taking one bite, you will not feel deprived and won’t feel guilty for overindulging. For more tips on mindful eating, check out this mindful eating blog post. (Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less)

Hope these tips help. I’m going to try to keep them in mind as we celebrate the holidays.

Happy Holidays! (All of them)

Written By

Renay Knapp, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionRenay KnappExtension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences Call Renay E-mail Renay N.C. Cooperative Extension, Henderson County Center
Posted on Dec 11, 2019
Was the information on this page helpful? Yes check No close
Scannable QR Code to Access Electronic Version