Submitted by Ravinder Bassi, Dietitian, South Asian Health Institute

Enjoying cultural foods can help create a sense of community while keeping food traditions alive.

Diwali is a festival of lights that celebrates the triumph of good over evil and is celebrated with family, friends, and great food.

Enjoying cultural foods, especially around times of celebration like Diwali, can help create a sense of community and keep your cultural roots and food traditions alive by sharing them across generations and with others.

Festivals and holidays can be challenging for those struggling with their relationship with food especially in the context of today’s widespread diet culture. People may avoid certain social gatherings due to fear or anxiety over what or how much they may eat.

Mindful eating is an approach to experiencing food by using all your senses to develop healthy eating habits, taking time to eat and being aware of your hunger and fullness cues. No one food or way of cooking and eating makes a body healthy, and by mindfully eating, you can shift your mindset away from thinking of certain foods as good or bad. Instead, pay attention to your likes and dislikes, as this may help connect you to your eating experience.

Here are some tips for practicing mindful eating:

  • Avoid skipping meals: Skipping meals can leave you tired and irritable and may lead you to overeat. Eating regularly will provide your body with the energy it needs to support your daily activities.
  • Notice your hunger cues: Often, we eat for reasons other than hunger. Check in with yourself and ask why you are wanting to eat – are you actually hungry? Or are you eating because you are bored, anxious, stressed or happy?
  • Pay attention to when you are full: Be aware of when you are satisfied so that you don't eat to the point of discomfort. Do not go for seconds right away. Give your body time to digest and feel full before deciding to have seconds.
  • Stay no to crash diets: There is no reason to cut out nutritious foods or groups of foods like carbohydrates or fats if you are a healthy individual, unless you have been directed to do so by a health care professional.

Enjoy Diwali celebrations with your loved ones by practicing mindful eating and avoid thinking about food as good or bad.

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