Intuitive Eating for the Holidays



The holiday season is in full swing and with this time of year comes lots of fun, food, and time with family and friends. As dietetics professionals, this can be a tricky season to navigate–there can be pressure to eat a certain way, the feeling that others are watching to see “what the dietitian eats,” or family members asking about the latest diet trends, while you may just be trying to enjoy some pie and time with loved ones. At the same time, our patients and clients may be experiencing their own challenges making their way through food-filled celebrations, and may look to us for guidance.

Intuitive eating offers a way to not only survive, but thrive while enjoying our holiday meals mindfully and peacefully. Practicing intuitive eating during the holidays (and year-round) can help us to nourish ourselves in a way that feels good, to model a healthy relationship with food for the friends and family members around us, and provides tools we can share with patients or clients to help make the most of this special time of year.

Evelyn Tribole, one of the co-creators of intuitive eating, published the Intuitive Eater’s Holiday Bill of Rights:

  1. You have the right to savor your meal, without cajoling or judgment, and without discussion of calories eaten or the amount of exercise needed to burn off said calories.
    2. You have the right to enjoy second servings without apology.
    3. You have the right to honor your fullness, even if that means saying “no thank you” to dessert or a second helping of food.
    4. It is not your responsibility to make someone happy by overeating, even if it took hours to prepare a specialty holiday dish.
    5. You have the right to say, “No thank you,” without explanation, when offered more food.
    6. You have the right to stick to your original answer of “no”, even if you are asked multiple times. Just calmly and politely repeat “No, thank you, really.”
    7. You have the right to eat pumpkin pie for breakfast.

Remember, no one, except for you, knows how you feel, both emotionally and physically. Only you can be the expert of your body, which requires inner attunement, rather than the external, well-meaning, suggestions from family.

(Copyright © 2010 by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD Published at )

The season can be especially challenging for our patients (and loved ones) with chronic diseases such as diabetes and kidney disease. As dietetics professionals we are well-positioned to help them enjoy their favorite foods mindfully while meeting their dietary needs. Discussing food and eating in a positive, non-judgemental way can make a big difference.

I invite you to explore how you might practice intuitive eating this holiday season to lead to a happier, healthier time for you, your patients, and family and friends.


By: Grace Sinopoli


Meet the Author

Grace Sinopoli

Grace Sinopoli

Clinical dietitian passionate about food insecurity, Health at Every Size, and healthy relationships with food for all!
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