Reducing Food Guilt During the Festive Season

Blog Post by Student Dietitian – Laura O’Connor


With the festive season well underway and Christmas around the corner, many of us are reuniting with loved ones and celebrating the festive season with lots of food, wine and traditions. For many though, there is an overwhelming feeling that their health and fitness goals that they’ve spent all year developing and maintaining will start to slip during this period. With this comes food restriction and “food guilt”, a term we’re hearing more and more about in the field of nutrition.

dietitian enjoying the festive season

So, what is food guilt?


It can be described as feelings of shame and/or remorse towards eating foods that are deemed “unhealthy”. These foods often are high in sugar and saturated fats and many believe they cannot be consumed as part of a healthy diet (which is 100% not true).


What can you do?


Here are some reminders to help keep the guilt at bay during this festive season:


1. It is normal to indulge

Remember, Christmas is one out 365 days of the year – please enjoy yourself! Although you might be going to lots of parties and drinking a few cocktails paired with a couple of cheese boards than you would usually, it isn’t something worth stressing over.


2. Don’t feel the need to create “healthier” versions of the classics

Christmas pudding is perfect the way it is and one that the aunties won’t want to be tampered with. If this is something that tends to bother you then try to fill your plate with more fruit and veggies.


3. You have the power to control your portion sizes

If you want seconds, go for it! However, it is still important to listen to your body and give it what it is craving – try not to restrict yourself from all of the delicious food on offer.


4. Try practicing mindful eating

Pausing between mouthfuls can allow more time for your food to digest and for the signal to your brain if you have had enough or not. Listening to your hunger cues can be the difference between feeling content and satisfied with the amount you have eaten and needing to unbutton the jeans from eating too much.


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