7 Tips to Avoid Mindless Eating

Indulge without the bulge this gluten-free holiday season!

The holidays mean family, friends and, of course, food—lots of it and lots that’s not very healthy. From gluten-free stuffing to buttery buns, gathering around the table brings with it comfort foods that often put tradition before nutrition.

Though you may not have the same variety of menu options as your gluten-consuming dining companions when eating at someone else’s home, it’s still easy to overdo it during the holidays. And when you’re celebrating at a table that’s completely or largely gluten free, you face the same temptation to have “just one more bite.”

From oversized portions to multiple trips to the buffet, alcohol overindulgence to sweets overload, you should be aware of what you put on your plate, keeping in mind that gluten-free specialty items can pack in more calories and fat. Mindless eating—that is, overeating without realizing it—also poses a problem. Many of the strategies that help curb mindless eating can be applied to holiday meals and parties as well.

7 Tips to Avoid Mindless Eating

  1. Skip the appetizers. If you do partake in some hors d’oeuvres, go straight for the veggie plate and dole out two or three pieces at a time for a controlled portion size. This can be easy to do when you’re gluten free and most of the appetizers are not.
  2. Pay attention to the size of the serving utensils—particularly if you are hosting the meal. The smaller the serving utensil, the less food you’ll take. Large spoons and scoops lead to bigger portions.
  3. Pace yourself for party-hopping. If your day is going to take you from one house to the next and your hosts have done a great job accommodating the gluten-free diet, don’t fill up at your first stop. Commit to eating a little at the first stop and a little at the second, or only dinner at the first and only gluten-free dessert at the second. Usually the bigger worry is not finding enough to eat at these parties, so this is actually a nice problem to have.
  4. Particularly at holiday parties, alternate between an alcoholic beverages and water to limit your calories while still engaging in the social act of having a drink in your hand.
  5. This is not a test and, yes, there are starving children in the world, but do not force yourself to eat every morsel on your plate. Eat until you are full. And then stop.
  6. If you’re done eating but your plate still has food on it, put your napkin over your dish so that you can’t see what’s left and won’t be tempted to continue picking.
  7. If you’re the kind of person who is always taking pictures with your cell phone camera, use it as a tool to help avoid overeating. Before you dig in, snap a photo of your plate to remember what you ate and how much. If you’re thinking of seconds, take a look at the photo and evaluate if you really want more.

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