4 Easy Tips for Mindful Eating Over the Holidays

Photo Courtesy: Flickr

By Tasija Karosas, Swimming World College Intern

It’s that time of year again. “Mindful eating” is not commonly associated with the holiday season. School is out, the Christmas lights are up, and all of your schoolmates are talking about how excited they are to sleep in everyday and eat as many of their grandmother’s homemade cookies as they possibly can. As your friends gloat, the feeling finally hits: with Christmas break comes Christmas training! This doesn’t mean sleeping in until noon and eating pie for breakfast. This means waking up at 6 a.m. (or earlier!) for a three-hour practice, napping mid-day and then going back to the pool for another two-hour practice.

Although the practices are really hard, it’s even harder to find the self-control to eat fuel-rich foods instead of all the cookies and sweets that fill the house. How exactly do you find the willpower to choose the proper fueling foods instead of the holiday goodies?

Here are a few easy tips to be mindful of so you stay fueled and strong and ready to practice your best over the holiday season:

1. Moderation is key!


Photo Courtesy: Moyan Brenn

Moderation is the most important tip when it comes to the holidays. Nothing says “upset stomach” like two servings of pie, three cookies, and some peppermint bark all in one sitting. Not only does this make you feel sick, it prevents you from eating a real meal, which is the primary food that will fuel your body for a tough practice. Focus on smaller amounts of your favorite desserts, and really enjoy each bite. Remember, your first bite will always be your best!

2. Fuel Before Sweets


Photo Courtesy: Jonas Weckshmied

With all the delicious sweets in the house, it’s tempting to snack on the treats and goodies that have arrived over the holiday season. As a dedicated athlete, you want to eat your main meal before indulging in any additional sugars. By doing this, you fuel your body with good, healthy energy that will power you through a three-hour practice, and you will perform and feel your best. When you make great choices and use discipline, you train your mind like a muscle, and your practices and performance will reflect your good nutrition!

3. Stay Hydrated


Photo Courtesy: Sue Borst

Fun fact: sometimes when you are hungry, your body it is actually craving water. Make sure you drink more water than you think you need. If you feel like you are staying hydrated, chances are you are not! It is crucial to be drinking more water than you are used to during the holiday season, especially with all the intense training and excess sugar that is typically consumed over the winter break.

4. Eat a Hearty Breakfast

Toast and Almond Butter. Breakfast-2015

Photo Courtesy: Tasija Karosas

Nothing starts a day off better than a big healthy breakfast. As I have said before, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and that goes all year round. By eating a large breakfast you restore your muscles and fuel them for the rest of your day. Breakfast also prevents you from having sugar cravings throughout the day because you will be more full for a longer period of time. Below are some examples of some great, fuel-filled breakfasts!


  • Oatmeal
  • Toast and peanut butter
  • Breakfast bars


  • Scrambled eggs with veggies and toast
  • Bagel with peanut butter and banana
  • Scrambled eggs with a side of Greek yogurt and granola

Always make sure to eat something small before practice and then large after practice!

Christmas training is hard enough with the added intensity and workload. It can be extremely difficult to fuel properly over this break due to the excess sugars and sweet gifts that tend to pile up around the house right now. If you remember even just a few of these important tips you can be fully prepared to crush every workout.

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