“Deck the Halls….”

Christmas is upon us. And this also a time when people of many of the world’s religions gather with family and friends to celebrate the year end, holidays and festivals. For all these events food will be an accompaniment.

To worry about what you eat is a common concern for many at this time of year (although others use the festivals as an excuse to surrender to hedonism at the table!). There are countless articles on self control and how to avoid the excesses of these celebrations. But, as we all know, this approach has mixed results and, whether successful or not, it often brings negative feelings of denial or failure.

Worrying about food does not make for a festive time. Instead it is a restriction of the fun and joy of Christmas lights, carol singing, crackers and the pleasure of the people around us. It makes for lost opportunities.

I recommend you manage your concerns about food using a different approach, a different starting point, ie ‘mindful eating’.

‘Mindful eating’ is simply paying attention to what and why you are eating.

There are two major points to follow.

Firstly, learn to understand your senses — your appetite, your hunger and your fullness. This takes practice; but, in time, you will learn the signs of hunger and satiety. Starting now is always a good idea as it is a time when there will be many opportunities for you to practice.

Secondly, choose food to satisfy your senses of hunger and fullness.
When eating, ‘check in’ regularly with how you are feeling. Are you enjoying what you are eating? If not, then leave it and select something else. Are you still hungry or have you had enough to eat? Remember, there will be more good food available at the next meal. You do not need to eat as if this is the last meal.

This festive season enjoy your food, enjoy the company and, most of all, trust the food choices you make.

Meanwhile, here are some recipes for canapés or tasty snacks for the festive season:

   Fruit and Almond Log
   Festive Crostini
   Pea Guacamole
   Smoked Almonds
   Beetroot Blinis
   Nori Wrap.

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